IT was another spectacular success from the St David’s Music Group – of the standard we have come to expect from this local group.
Their reputation goes before them and it was a complete sell-out even though they put on the show for four nights rather than the usual three.
Much of the success must have come from the clever casting of the principals. Each of them sat so comfortably in their roles it was hard to believe they were acting in a musical.
The Mother Abbess, Rosie Wilkin, whose professional singing elevated this role to the sublime, enchanted the audience. The delightful Maria with her sheer exuberance and joy of living carried all those who were on stage with her to give of their best. As always Katy Allan’s voice soared to the heights.
Other female leads were equally well cast – the stunning baroness was played by 16-year-old Iona Lamont, whose talented acting grows more proficient each year – she portrayed the calculating opportunist who was never going to go down well with the Von Trapp children.
The new governess on the other hand was just what these adorable little monsters longed for. Even Lisl, the eldest, “sixteen going on seventeen” decided she did want her for a confidante after all. Played by Eilidh Forsyth her clear fresh voice was quite perfect for the role, an excellent partner for Rolf – the young post boy, Craig Haggart. Their duet, so well known, nearly brought the house down. Craig’s voice – rich and growing more mature – and his manner conveyed perfectly the insecurities of a 17-year-old, swayed by the Nazi propaganda, yet overcome by his love for the sweet little Lisl.
The other children, who were swapped around every second night, are stars in the making, obviously enjoying every minute of their stage appearances – responding so efficiently to all the production requirements.
As usual with the St David’s Music Group the producer was Bill McCall, who combined his marvellous ability to direct and control such a wide-ranging cast with his superb singing as the lead male, Captain Von Trapp.
His acting conveyed his powerful love of his native land and his tender love of young Maria, his bride at the end.
His irrepressible companion and long-standing friend Max was played superbly by Gordon Lamont, who managed to introduce comic relief at just the right moments with a talented panache that is a tribute to his many roles with the group.
Even the lesser characters were so well cast – the dignified butler played so eloquently by Dan Carmichael, while the housekeeper, Kathryn Macdonald simply was the part – and everyone loved the bobbing Austrian lady who won second prize in the concert, as much as they hated the Nazi commandant, Sandy Forsyth, convincingly menacing as Herr Zeller.
As always Jill Taylor’s musical direction was faultless and the band under her baton gave a first-rate performance every night that thrilled the audiences.
As they left the hall their comments rang true – “their best ever performance”, “what a show”, “like a West End production”.
No wonder it was a sell-out!
By Margot Aked