The hills are most definitely alive with the sound of music at The Lowry this Christmas. The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne takes to the stage as Maria in the classic stage musical The Sound of Music.
The set is spectacular, whether it is the Nun’s Abbey or the beautiful staircase in the centre of the Von Trapp Family’s home, not a penny is spared in this sensational production.
After interviewing the lovely Lucy O’Byrne earlier this year, not only is she one of the loveliest actress’ I’ve met but she is phenomenal on stage. Despite being known for being the runner up in the BBC’s The Voice, she originally trained professionally in Musical Theatre and this is evident by her performance. Without mirroring Julie Andrews, Lucy’s take on Maria is excellent. She portrays the innocent yet strong willed nature of Maria flawlessly, her characterisation is animated and vibrant which is noticeable in her rendition of The Lonely Goatherd.
The standout performance of the show is Jan Hartley who plays the matriarchal Mother Abbess, her vocals are astonishing and quite literally blow the audience away. Her performance of Climb Every Mountain is exceptional and had the whole audience on their feet. Her vocal strength and power is undeniable, she is perfectly cast for the role.
Gray O’Brien plays Captain von Trapp, his acting is strong and I enjoyed his characterisation as he brings charisma and style which allows the role to not feel dated. His duets are carried by Lucy’s stunning voice, he was slightly shaky at times and technically he needed to relax into the notes as the tightness of his vocal placement means his tone could be a lot stronger, something that will hopefully come as the tour progresses. However his chemistry with Lucy is truly convincing and I found their stage presence together highly commanding.
The seven Von Trapp children in the production are heartwarmingly talented, they really lift the show during their numbers with Maria and the energy they provide is electric. A highlight being So Long, Farewell a superbly choreographed number, the children show no sign of rigidness and despite some of them being so young their professionalism is faultless.
I am sixteen going on seventeen is done beautifully by Annie Horn (Liesel) and Kane Verrall (Rolf), eloquently choreographed by Bill Deamer it’s a charming number interjected with a romantic dance break showcasing the remarkable dance ability of the two young actors.
The well known score is absolutely done justice by the orchestra of the production. A full, bright sound is amplified into the audience from the overture to the curtain call. Musical Director David Steadman does a fantastic job adapting the orchestra and introducing radiant harmonies into the show, particularly during the nun scenes in the Abbey.
Perfect for Christmas, The Sound of Music is a family show packed with classic songs and staged magnificently, it is bound to fill your heart with warmth and have you singing out of the theatre.
The Sound of Music is at The Lowry until the 2nd of January and tickets can be found here.