The Sound of Music at Chichester Festival Theatre - why you should climb every mountain to see this triumph

The Sound of Music may be one of the greatest musicals of all time – immortalised by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film – but it has never been staged at Chichester Festival Theatre … until now. Gary Shipton was in the audience to assess how well it had stood the test of time.
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Be in no doubt the audience didn’t just like this revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic – the absolutely loved every second of it. They made that clear when they rose to their feet as one and shouted and cheered their appreciation as the final number rolled to its conclusion.

What’s not to love?

The songs are utterly irresistible. Edelweiss, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, So Long Farewell, My Favourite Things, and Do-Re-Mi, are locked in the subconscious of everyone of a certain generation.

Gina Beck as Maria in The Sound of Music at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo Manuel HarlanGina Beck as Maria in The Sound of Music at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo Manuel Harlan
Gina Beck as Maria in The Sound of Music at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo Manuel Harlan
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The story of the free spirited Maria training to become a nun but failing miserably despite her best efforts and instead falling in love with the austere father of seven children is the stuff of all great romances.

This production with its sophisticated set that captures the power of the mountains and the darkness of the political context in inspired.

The children play their roles with joy and musical genius while Gina Beck dominates the stage as Maria – a performance as close to the perfection of the Julie Andrews’ original as you could ever hope to see.

A remarkable appearance too from Janis Kelly as the Mother Abbess – exuding real warmth as well as strength in her mighty rendition of Climb Ev’ry Mountain which closes the first half.

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A terrific orchestra under musical director Matt Samer cemented everything together beautifully.

This is based on the original stage musical and does not quite mirror the film as a result – but there is no cause for disappointment even among aficionados of the blockbuster movie.

If you see only one thing on the stage this summer – make sure it is The Sound of Music … and lose yourself in its magic.

This production is everything you could have hoped for – and more. A triumph.