The Sound of Music | Epsom College
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The Sound of Music

Rehearsals for The Sound of Music began in January, in the midst of lockdown via Teams, and the cast didn’t meet together in the same room until May. Despite the huge challenges posed by Covid restrictions, the dedicated and talented team produced a spectacular production of which everyone should be proud. Here, Director, Mr Robert Wells, reviews the show:

The story of the Von Trapp family, and their exploits in Austria, will be very familiar to our audience. This production was a playful homage to the original film and stage show incorporating some modern twists. Out of this talented cast of 30, a total of 22 students made their Big School stage debuts and they should be very proud of themselves.

The grieving Captain Von Trapp is played with aplomb by Ed Green (Fa). In his second performance at Epsom, following his show-stealing turn in Spamalot, Ed was thoroughly engaging as the captain who learns to love again.

The Von Trapp children were a perfect mix of playful, cheeky and inquisitive. All seven of them fully embodied their roles. Alice Griffiths (Rv) played Brigitta and with her focused attitude made an outstanding debut. Joshua Hadley (H) and Theo Maxwell Randeria (H) shone as the two bickering brothers Fredrich and Kurt. It was great that Joshua even managed to maintain his beautiful high voice and hit that delightful top G!

Sophie Brittan (Rv) and Lucy Hughes (W) starred in their first show at Epsom and made an excellent debut as the two youngest Von Trapp Children.

Caitlin Lynch (R), returned to the Epsom stage after her role as Tina the Enchanter in Spamalot and fully embraced the cheeky Louisa. Not even an injury stopped her from performing in the show.

In the song, Sixteen Going On Seventeen, we were introduced to the young lovers of Liesel and Rolf, played by Millie Milne (Rv) and John Warfield (Fa). This number simply sparkled and gave every audience member a warm fuzzy feeling and no doubt a beaming smile across their face.

Later in Act 1, we were introduced to Elsa and Max. Played by Rebecca Xu (W) and Charlie Holt (P), the pair are destined for great things following this inaugural performance at Epsom. In How Can Love Survive and No Way To Stop It the pair sang, danced and acted with confidence and zest.

The dutiful housekeeper and butlers, played by Sophie Clark (Rv) and Rhys Entwhistle (C), were fully believable in their roles.  Jacob Secker (Rn) and Edie McLennan Fordyce (Rv), as the sinister Herr Zeller and Admiral von Schreiber, provided true peril to the Von Trapps.

The trio of Lucy Campbell (Rv), Bella Hibbert (Rv) and Rosie Hickinbottom (M) brought new life into Maria, one of the most memorable numbers in the show. These were yet more successful debuts and I am seriously excited about the talent we have available for future productions.

Leading the Nuns was The Mother Abbess, played by Bibi Watkins (M). It was a delight to see Bibi performing Climb Every Mountain with true gravitas.

The supporting cast of Olivia Key (M), Priya Sirah (Rv), Damla Sivrioglu (R), Heeta Vijaykumar (Wh) and Leah Woulfe (R), played multiple roles, moving between, Nuns, Nazis and party guests with ease.

Juliette Cox (Rv) shone as the officiant who wed our happy couple. Isabella Mitchell (R) and Katie Reid (R) made first-rate debuts on the Big School Stage. Unfortunately, Lucy Church-Jones (Rv) was unable to perform in the final performances, but she maintained an excellent attitude and spirit throughout the rehearsal process.

Led by Jason Kitcatt (Fa), an excellent stage management crew consisting of James Riley (C), Leo Skingley (F), Joshua Crocket (F) and Joshua Dixon (C) executed complex set changes with effortlessness. Seren Callaghan (Rv) also expertly assisted in costume repairs and resolved any microphone issues which occurred.

Finally, we come to the dual casting of Maria played by Tessa Vafai (Cr) and Ellie Vetch (W). Both students started at Epsom this year, and both performances reflected their true talents for the stage. They fully embodied this complex character, who can be shy, confident, happy and sad within the same scene.  A strong vocal performance, energetic choreography and a dynamic range of acting skills meant that the girls were a true triple threat.

The music for the show was rather different this year – with regulations making a live band impossible. Using the show’s professional backing tracks, Mr Johns spent a happy week of discovery learning how to use the tailor-made computer programme to edit the tracks to the exact requirements. The show itself required a level of dexterity and agility that Mr Johns never knew he had, to conduct the cast at the same time as pressing play/start and fading volume on his laptop. The pupils all did exceptionally well to adapt to this new way of performance and the sound of both singers and ‘orchestra’ was noticeably high quality throughout.

In addition, the choreography of Caitlin Barnet was playful and imaginative. Keiran Kerswell designed a smooth flowing set that handled transporting the audience from one location to the next, using painted backcloths, video projection and a full faux villa along the back wall of Big School. He designed and made bespoke costumes as well as designing the lighting for the show. Mark Bishop worked tirelessly to ensure every cast member was heard loud and clear and all video FX were seamlessly incorporated into the show. Under the direction of Robert Wells the whole production has seamlessly come together.

To have managed to produce a show of such quality in the midst of Covid restrictions is a true testament to the tenacity, work ethic and imagination of the whole cast and crew. Well done!