The Sound of Music

May 2 2022 | By More

★★★★☆   Melodic

Brunton Theatre: Tue 26 – Sat 30 April 2022
Review by Thom Dibdin

The steeply-raked seats of the Brunton are alive with the Sound of Music this week as Musselburgh Amateur Musicals Association bring the singing Von Trapp family to Musselburgh.

MAMA’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has bundles of charm and some fine vocal performances in a staging which finds itself a little cramped on the Brunton Stage. But what do you expect with a cast 36.

Becky Duncan Skelton and company. Pic :Simon Wooton

Director Niall King is appears aware of the limitations of the theatre, and makes good use of that steep raking to have some of his singing nuns out in the auditorium for the opening – and place the Nazi guards up he aisles in the final concert.

It has not been long since the company was on stage in the Brunton with Chess, held over from pre-Covid times. So this production has not had a long time to settle in and decisions have clearly been made over which elements to prioritise.

musical elements

The lack of movement only works to accentuate the rather peremptory nature of the storytelling in the musical version of the story of the young nun, Maria, who gets sent to work as a nanny for Captain Von Trapp’s seven children on the eve of the Anschluss in Austria, 1938.

However, that story is so reliant on the musical numbers, that the choice to focus on the musical elements of the show works – with knobs on.

Rebecca Kinross Pic: Simon Wooton

Rebecca Kinross, most recently seen in as a rootin’ tootin’ Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, makes her MAMA debut as Maria. She is both utterly convincing in the role as the wayward novice and utterly delightful to listen to, with clearly articulated words and a simply gorgeous tone to her delivery.

What’s more, Kinross expresses Maria’s growing but initially unspoken relationship with Richard Tebbutt’s Captain Von Trapp with empathy. Against her, Tebbutt also ensures that the bluff Captain, used to being obeyed as if on his ship, slowly melts in the face her generosity of spirit.

strong characterisations

Alison Henry, as the rich Baroness Elsa Schrader who is intent on marrying the recently widowed Captain, and Alan Paterson as Max Detweiler, their friend and musical producer, both provide strong characterisations. Henry is particularly clear in showing Elsa’s feelings towards Maria.

Gordon Horne takes on the role of the Rolf, the young postie who is both in love with the eldest Von Trapp daughter, Leisl, and is bending his ear towards the encroaching Nazi party.

Chiara Baillie and Gordon Horne. Pic: Simon Wooton

Horne and Chiara Baillie as Leisl (who alternates the role with Marina Gonzalez), make a convincing young couple on the cusp of love for Sixteen Going On Seventeen – enough to give Rolf’s life-saving intervention when the family are hiding from the Nazi’s a sense of realism.

The whole company give strong vocal performances, with Kinross being a particular revelation. However, it is up to Becky Duncan Skelton as the Mother Abbess to both lift the roof and provide the tear-in-the-eye moment. Her Climb Ev’ry Mountain is a proper treat – and oh yes: she does hit that high note and make it big.

The adult cast were always going to be upstaged by the children, however, no matter how well they created their characters, or how well the nuns were drilled (very).

steal the limelight

The seven youngsters in the “Do” team who performed on the night reviewed were excellent. Hanna Spalding was always going to steal the limelight as the youngest, Gretl, last to bed in the always cute So Long, Farewell.

Sophie Tebbutt is convincing as perceptive Brigitta, who tells Maria the home truth she can’t admit to herself – that she and the Captain are I love. But generally, all seven performed with clarity and understanding.

Watching the live musical version of The Sound of Music it is hard to remember that this was the first version and, no matter how iconic the film has become, that is the adaptation. That said, this is a production which stands firmly on its own considerable merits.

Running time: Two hours and 30 minutes
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA.
Tuesday 26– Saturday 30 April 2022
Evenings: 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details:  Book here.

Team Do with Alan Paterson. Pic: Simon Wooton

Team Do: Chiara Baillie (Leisl); Archie Wright (Friedrich); Kendra Laird (Louisa); Nathan Fisher (Kurt); Sophie Tebbutt (Brigitta); Emily Nicoll (Marta);Hanna Spalding (Gretl)

Rebecca Kinross with Team Re. Pic: Simon Wooton

Team Re: Kathryn Hackett (Gretl); Daisy Dougan (Marta); Hania Piwowar (Brigitta); Kian Gillon (Kurt); Chloe Mitchell (Louisa); James Macdonald (Friedrich) Marina Gonzalez (Leisl)


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Comments (1)

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  1. María Concepción González Gil says:

    Tuve la oportunidad de asistir al espectáculo y tengo que decir que fue una verdadera maravilla.
    Unas voces increíbles, una gran puesta en escena y una gran orquesta.
    Enhorabuena a su director y a todo el elenco!!!