Tag Archives: Danielle Hope

REVIEW: The Sound of Music – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-sound-of-music-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s, musical theatre classic The Sound of Music is still managing to delight audiences, almost 60 years on since its first appearance on stage.

On Gary McCann’s impressive set, complemented by Nick Richings’ perfectly judged lighting design, with an exquisite sounding orchestra led by David Steadman, and under Martin Connor’s sure-footed direction, this polished production is a quality piece of musical theatre.

Danielle Hope is a fresh-faced and youthful Maria (saddled however with a rather unfortunate wig) who has clearly been taking lessons at the Julie Andrews’ School of Musical Theatre Diction, her dialogue is razor sharp and her enunciation would make Miss Andrews proud. She is also in possession of an impressive vocal range which she uses to great effect in these much-loved classics. If criticism were to be made though, she does lack a little of the vitality and spark that the role requires.

Hope has in support, a strong ensemble cast: the troupe of von Trapp children are a beguiling bunch, delightfully un-precocious and singing like angels, they manage to bring a realism to roles which have, in other productions, tended to verge upon the saccharine sweet. Jan Hartley’s Mother Abbess rendition of the anthem “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is also worthy of praise; quite literally a show-stopper, bringing as it does the curtain down on Act One and Steven Houghton is a solid, if at times a little stiff, Captain von Trapp, he does however deliver a well-judged, heart-felt “Edelweiss” as the show builds to its conclusion.

Where the 2015 tour deviates from previous productions is that it trims Maria’s “I Have Confidence” (possibly due to its already lengthy running time) and the Nazi threat that pervades the big screen version is somewhat missing here. However, when the swastika background drops down during the family’s appearance at the music festival, there is a tangible mood shift in the auditorium.

It remains a great story, with truly great songs and there is much to praise here in this deftly-handled production with its solid and highly accomplished cast. It is so well-loved, by so many, that to criticise it is like kicking a puppy. If a show can make the corners of your mouth turn up involuntarily into a smile on recognition of the first notes of a tune, then it has got to be a winner in anyone’s book.

Runs until Saturday 28 February 2015 then touring

Photo credit: Pamela Raith

REVIEW: Wizard of Oz – London Palladium

He really is a whizz of a wiz, if ever a whiz there was! So we went off to see the wizard – the wonderful Wizard Of Oz – Saw this on my birthday trip to London.

It has been almost a year since Andrew Lloyd Webber launched his TV search to find a Dorothy to star in his latest West End show.

Danielle Hope won the BBC talent hunt Over The Rainbow beating 9000 hopefuls and the 18 year old is now fulfilling her dream – with advance ticket sales already passing £10 million. Her performance is natural and easy and Kansas accent remained strong throughout and her rendition of Over The Rainbow was well delivered.

It was truly a spectacle. Jeremy Sams’s production pulls out all the stops, with ingenious designs by Robert Jones that skilfully conjure up both the sepia world of Kansas’s furrowed fields, to the lurid colours and green Art Deco Palace of Oz. The Yellow Brick Road itself is on a tilted revolve from inside which poppyfields and labyrinthine forest emerge. The costumes as well are fantastic.

 Witches sparkled and cackled, dropping in from the dizzyingly high ceiling and rising from the floor.

 The incredible collapse of Dorothy’s home in the tornado is almost cinematic, as computer graphics make the winds whirl as the house spins into the vortex of space.  Better yet the Munchkins are genuinely sweet rather than the grotesque freak-show offered by the MGM movie, and Toto – the cutest white Westie (played by Dazzle, Razzamatazz, Bobby and Topper see below) – is adorable.

 

It’s good to be reminded of such classics as Over The Rainbow, We’re Off To See The Wizard, and Follow The Yellow Brick Road. The additions by Lloyd Webber and Rice are also perfectly good. Dorothy is given an opening number, and Red Shoes Blues, sung by the Wicked Witch (Hannah Waddingham), is a welcome addition.

The Wicked Witch’s revolving lair provides a scare for the teeny tinies in the audience (see above), and there are plenty of flames, bangs and crashes, but as with the film and in the other Oz musical Wicked, everyone will be terrified by the grotesque flying monkeys, although the sheer number of them in Wicked was even more frightening. The supporting cast were superb especially Edward Baker- Duly as The Tin Man and Paul Keating as The Scarecrow.

Some of the smallest details are the most treasurable: the chorus of puppet crows in the cornfield; the flying silhouette of Miss Gulch on her bicycle and overwhelming brass engine room at Oz. There is great pleasure in being in a theatre with a show where an audience is greeting a very old friend and celebrating a very great movie.  This truly is a visual feast and a sheer delight and a welcome companion to its pre-set partner across town – Wicked.