ONE of the most renowned musicals of all-time will be performed in Stevenage this month.

The Sound of Music opens at the Gordon Craig Theatre next Thursday, August 16, and runs until Saturday, August 25.

The theatre’s summer musical will see Natalie Blenford in the lead role of Maria and Wendy-Lee Purdy as Mother Abbess, whose credits include performing as Mamma Morton in the UK tour of Chicago.

Joining them will be Kim Taylforth, who’s appeared in TV dramas Bad Girls and London’s Burning, as well as Mathew Waters, who plays Rolf.

The Comet spoke to Mathew – who has starred in Round the Twist and began his acting career at the age of eight – to get a flavour of the show.

“It’s going to be awesome, there’s also sing-a-long shows where there’s going to big screens so it sounds like it’s going to be amazing,” said Mathew, who was born in Australia but moved to London to further his career in 2010.

“I’m just worried there’s going to be some little star in the audience that gets up and has an amazing voice that’s going to out-shine me.”

A cast of 12 children are already competing for the limelight, as they share the roles of the six youngest Von Trapps. They include Romily Proud from Stevenage, Eden Tinsey from Baldock and Russell Farrer from Hitchin – who took the lead role in last summer’s production of Oliver!

Mathew himself has appeared in Oliver! The Musical, picking up a nomination for Young Entertainer of the Year for his portrayal of the Artful Dodger when performing in Sydney aged 13.

Now 23, he is still perhaps best known for his role as Bronson in children’s TV programme Round the Twist, playing the part for two series from the age of 11.

“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to be in Round the Twist at that age,” said Mathew.

“I remember watching series two when I was nine and by that time I knew I wanted to be an actor. I somehow got an audition and they flew me to Melbourne by plane. Even now I still can’t believe I got the part.”

Rehearsals for the Sound of Music began on Saturday and despite being his first visit to the theatre, not everything will be new.

Mathew has already worked alongside Natalie Blenford - who performed in Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony last Friday - in Gutter Press, The Musical.

He said: “We had a great time with Gutter Press so it’s good to work together again. The run is going to be pretty intense. I’m not on stage all show but Natalie who is playing Maria is so she’s got a job on.

“The Sound of Music sells itself but the reason people should come is it’s going to be a really different and fun experience. We’re encouraging the audience to sing along and interact so it’s not just about the music on stage.

“It’s making the ‘fourth wall’ part of the show and hopefully everyone is going to feel like they’re part of it. It’s going to be awesome for families to come along and watch, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Tickets start from �15 with varying performance times. For more information or to book, call 01438 363200 or visit