“The hills are alive with the…” even if you have never seen the film (what?) this song is instantly recognisable – Nottingham Operatic Society brings us The Sound of Music

For those that have never seen it – set in Salzburg, Austria in the late 30s, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical from the early 1960s is still a much loved classic focusing on free spirited postulant Maria 

Struggling with the discipline of the Abbey and not being able to let go of her love for music, singing and the freedom of the Austrian hills, Maria is sent to the estate of Captain Von Trapp to become governess to his 7 children 

Still grieving the loss of his wife, the Captain has lost sight of what being a dad means and is running his family like a military operation

What plays out before us is the growing bond between Maria, the children and eventually the Captain – all intertwined with the fear of loving, a rich baroness and the dawning reality that they may lose everything to the Nazis 

Abby Wells gives us a playful, fun, charismatic Maria – strong vocals and great chemistry with all the cast especially when singing with the children 

Paul Johnson gave us a stern, grieving Captain Von Trapp who transformed into a loving father right before our eyes 

Simon Theobald was a funny and charming Max Detweller and delivered some strong vocals alongside Louise Grantham as love interest to the Captain, Elsa Schraeder 

Housekeeper Frau Schmidt (Linda Croston) always brings a smile to my face and another familiar face Shaun Hanrahan as butler Franz 

When the nuns sang together it was beautiful, haunting and powerful and equally beautiful were Alison Hope, Fiona McHugh and Sarah Millington (Sisters Margaretta, Berthe and Sophia) 

Stand out performance vocally was Kate Taylor as Mother Abbess – wow! Would not be out of place in a professional cast and had many of the audience in tears with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”

The children were fantastic and of course little Gretl (Poppy Fawcett) had the crowed oohing and aahing with her every word. We had blue team for this performance with Laurel Fiddes as Liesl in both teams

Beautiful performance by Laurel with good vocals and a cute dance scene with Rolf Gruber (Zak Charlesworth)

Phoebe Crawford as Brigitta is one to watch for the future – great stage presence 

Jonathan Jaycock (Friedrich), Sally Elliot (Louisa), Brogan Haynes (Kurt) and Effie Ballard (Marta) complete the Von Trapp children 

This was definitely one of the best amateur productions I’ve seen, with good use of the stage and set design, great costumes and the fabulous orchestra looked perfectly placed at the back of the stage – as though in a grand ballroom 

With a strong and large ensemble cast giving many people the chance to be a part of an iconic musical on one of the best theatres in the UK, you can’t fault the Nottingham Operatic Society for their commitment, professionalism and for bringing a great night of entertainment to so many both on and off stage 

A very receptive audience and deservedly so, a perfect family show for this half term 

The Sound of Music, Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 2nd November