Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Manchester is alive with The Sound of Music
The iconic musical Sound of Music returns to stage in Manchester starring The Voice runner-up Lucy O'Byrne.
Romance and action in The Sound of Music
It's been two years since O'Byrne was given the chance to shine as Maria in this successful Bill Kenwright production and she's back in the revival touring the UK.
The Sound Of Music is on at The Palace Theatre in Manchester from March 13 to 17. Prices start at £20 and range up to £61.40.
Directed by Martin Connor, the production is based on the original Broadway show rather than the famous film. Although the show closely follows the hugely popular movie from 1965 with grand sets, iconic songs and costumes, this version has some slight differences and a few other songs too that fans will enjoy.
Charming song and dance routines are in the show
It still features the famous Rodgers & Hammerstein songs including 'Edelweiss', 'My Favourite Things', 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain', 'Sixteen Going On Seventeen' and 'The Sound of Music' - but some are in a different order.
The Sound of Music musical started life on stage in Broadway in 1959 when it won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. It secured international acclaim a few years later when it was turned into the 1965 Oscar-winning movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
The feel-good musical is based on the real-life story of the Trapp Family Singers from Baroness Maria von Trapp's 1949 autobiography. There's plenty of action, drama and romance in this epic story of novice singing nun finding love with Captain Von Trapp in pre-war Austria after becoming a nanny to his children.
Lucy O'Byrne from The Voice as Maria
I caught this latest production early on during the tour and it's a slick production enhanced by lavish sets recreating everything from the luxurious von Trapp family mansion to the stained glass windows of the convent.
The casting crew has done a fabulous job of finding young talents to play the Von Trapp children, especially as many of them are very young and performing songs like 'So Long, Farewell' and 'Do-Re-Mi' so well.
Ultimately, it's O'Byrne who shines the brightest. The classically trained soprano has more than a touch of Julie Andrews about her in appearance and manner, but her voice is stunning too.
She's got more confidence this time around compared to the 2016 tour, but since then she has played the role of Fantine in Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Miserables in London's West End. O'Byrne comes into her own during the Second Act, that gathers more pace and grandeur.
Also impressing is Megan Llewellyn as Mother Abbess who closes both the first and second acts with rousing renditions of 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain'.
The children in the family also play a huge part in the storyline with their own songs and dilemmas, particularly the eldest teenager Liesl.
It's a glorious, well-performed show that Sound of Music fans will adore.