The Sound of Music at The Leeds Grand Theatre Review

Last night saw the opening night of The Sound of Music at the Grand Theatre and the Yorkshire hills were alive with the sound of a standing ovation.

Having recently run at the London Palladium, the West End experience is brought straight to Yorkshire’s doorstep. Starring Jason Donovan as Captain Von Trapp and Verity Rushworth as Maria, the production often follows the academy award winning 1965 film to the letter.  At the same time however, it is given its own stamp, with the tense backdrop of Nazi occupied Austria given more precedence

Jason-Donovan-and-Verity-RushworthThe sets (designed by Robert Jones) were awesome (in the true sense of the word) and the set changes were seamlessly executed, adding to the performance overall. The audience is treated to no expenses spared grandeur of the VonTrapp home, authentic mountain scenes and an impressive abbey.  The casting, too, is a success. Verity Rushworth captures Maria’s charm and naivety perfectly and the comic delivery in her acting brings truly touching and humorous moments. All of the children performed excellently, their professionalism and talent really exceptional at such young ages. Without doubt, Mother Abbess (played by Marilyn Hill Smith) was my favourite performance and I am not embarrassed to admit that her bolstering rendition of Climb Every Mountain gave me goosebumps. Though I am embarrassed to admit that had I not been in a room full of strangers, I probably would have wept with joy into my lederhosen.

I was, however, underwhelmed by Jason Donovan. He lacked the physical presence required to play a brooding Captain Von Trapp and he seemed to overcompensate through overacting. His rendition of Edelweiss was flat – unfortunately obvious due to him singing the melody alongside of a perfectly in tune violin. Against the rest of the casts pitch perfect singing and believable acting, his performance failed to hit the mark.

Fortunately, this did not affect my overall enjoyment of the production and I would absolutely recommend anybody to go and see it. It is not an easy task to recreate a musical so surpassing, though this production was not only extremely enjoyable but an excellent example musical theatre overall.

The Sound of Music is playing at the Leeds Grand 07 June 2011 – 25 June 2011 – Monday Evenings 7.00pm, Tuesday – Saturday Evenings 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday Matinees 2.30pm – Box Office – 0844 848 2706

Kirsty Hulse – find her on twitter here


  1. Wasimmfab50

    Felt i had to say how very much i enjoyed Sound of Music at the Grand, Leeds on weds 8th. An uplifting feel good show, surpassing all expectations. Verity was superb, so talented, supported by a great cast. Thank you for a great night out, Loved it.

  2. York1e

    I endorse every word of this review and I went on Wednesday. Jason Donovan was a disappointment – he was out of tune and his acting was not impressive either. Full marks to the rest of the cast and the crew but special thanks to those who allowed me to hear every spoken word and also every sung word. The singers’ balance with the orchestra or its balance with the singers was a masterclass in theatre music-making. My heartfelt thanks for a really enjoyable evening to you all

  3. JW

    I went last night and felt the whole show was poor… Verity didn’t have the voice required and JD was very weak both in his acting and singing. There was no chemistry between the leading actors and aside from Mother Abbess I would say this is a disappointing version of a classic….

  4. Kirsty Hulse

    Thanks for all your comments.
    Wassimmfab50 – I am glad you enjoyed it!JW – What a shame! Perhaps Verity was not so on form after a couple of performances – I noticed that occasionally her voice did not come through very strong so perhaps it is taking it’s toll.Again – always difficult to try to recreate something so famous!

    I certainly understand why they cast Jason Donovan, in much the same way a pantomime casts Christopher Biggins, he’s not particularly talented but is a bit of a novelty!

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