After a long time in planning, the wait for audiences for WODS latest production of ‘The Sound of Music’ at Worcester’s Swan Theatre is well worth it - and if you don’t grab a ticket quickly you will be disappointed.

After an unusual but effective opening sequence, we meet a beautifully tuneful ‘Maria’, well played by Nicola Sandy.

Initially Nicola performed with innocent understatement but developed the character into a pleasing maturity, not least when firmly pointing out to Captain Georg von Trapp how amazing each of his seven children were and that they should not be without music in their lives.

The ‘Nuns of Nonnberg Abbey’ triggered a few shivers of anticipation with their ‘Preludium’, which was moving and fulfilled in glorious harmony.

Von Trapp played by Andy Gilhooly provided a perfect balance between the strict naval officer with a misplaced eye for children’s discipline and eventually, once again, a loving father.

In his personal life, ‘Von Trapp’ is having a romance with ‘Elsa Schrader’ for whom Sarah Gilhooly provided a glamorous and sophisticated proposition but who eventually sees that there is no future in the relationship.

‘Mother Abbess’, strong but kind (Lynsey Beckley), ‘Sister Bertha’ (Jo Howe), ‘Sister Margaretta’ (Sophie Aumeer) and ‘Sister Sophia’ (Laura Moss) were all well cast and added a certain quality to the production.

The iconic number ‘Climb Every Mountain’, sung by Lynsey was superb and a terrific moment.

Along the way we meet ‘Uncle’ Max Detweiller’ played well by Eddie Paisley who was cheeky enough to arrive just in time for meals but fun enough to be forgiven.

He was also in a position to explain the seriousness of the growing threat of the Third Reich to Von Trapp and enabled the family to escape, and these sequences were well handled.

Excellent support was also provided by Kate Hampton as ‘Frau Schmidt’ the housekeeper and John Sansome as ‘Franz’ the butler.

The production is blessed with a great team for the Von Trapp children, with some excellent performances from Harvey Daniel, (‘Friedrich’) Phoebe Wilson (‘Louisa’), Redvers Bucknall (‘Kurt’), Tilly Francis (‘Brigitta’), Rheya Hung (‘Marta’) and Neve Raven as ‘Gretl’, all recruited from the youth section WODYS. Their relationship with ‘Maria’ was tangible and the choreographed pieces, especially ‘Do-Ra-Mi’, were delightful.

The oldest of the children ‘Liesl’ played by Katie Downes was also very good and I enjoyed her relationship with ‘Maria’ and also with ‘Rolf’ also well played by Ethan Cook.

Their duet ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ was charming and well-choreographed. The impact of the Anschluss (the annexation of the Federal State of Austria into the German Reich in 1938) was well handled with foreboding atmosphere, by Gary Kimber as Herr Zeller and Michael Staiger as Admiral von Schreiber.

Throughout, the orchestra provided a great level of support, particularly during the quieter moments which I appreciated and the fixed set on several levels of mainly white marble with balustrades was well used for each scene.

Congratulations to director Chris Holloway and all involved. It was really pleasing to see that ‘The Sound of Music’, with one number after another all retained their magic and this production by WODS at the Swan Theatre should not be missed.

WODS production of The Sound of Music runs until Saturday, April 22nd.

WODYS next production, Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical masterpiece Carousel, will be staged at Worcester’s Swan Theatre from Tuesday, August 1, to Saturday, August 5, 2023.

For tickets for either show – visit Huntingdon Hall box office, Crowngate, Worcester; call 01905611427; or visit