From do-re-mi to hills to brown paper packages to yodelling to being sixteen (going on seventeen) to climbing mountains to solving problems like Maria and all the way to that beautiful little flower Edelweiss, mention The Sound of Music to anyone and they’ll surely be respond by singing any one of these fabulous tunes. It is this love of the music in particular that makes the story translates so wonderfully well to the musical stage, particularly with this latest production which sparkles.
For this production is light and wonderfully vibrant, seeking to uphold more of the happy side of the story rather than dwelling on the whole annexation side of things, which is rather nice! It definitely makes an impact on the audience in any case, with lots of enthusiastic sing-a-longs, cheerful laughter and ecstatic clapping during all their favourites.
Championing this cause is Amy Lehpamer as Maria, who is simply radiant on stage. She brings a new life to our favourite sweet governess with a sort of cheekiness about her, my favourite line being her quick comeback “I have been given permission to sing!” said through clenched teeth and interwoven with the start of “I Have Confidence” (also perhaps my favourite song of the musical). Each and every note is hit perfectly and when she opens the stage with a soaring “The Sound of Music” you definitely know you’re alive.
Keeping this vibrancy going is of course the wonderful von Trapp Children, who are adorable, energetic and entirely competent musical actors (even the very youngest). Kurt (Louis Fotaine) particularly stood out to me with his solos revealing quite a handle on his voice and Stefanie Joneswas a splendid Liesl.
Marina Prior’s stunning voice did wonders towards helping you actually like the Baroness, with the character actually being a good deal more likable than in the movie to begin with. I also found myself very much amused with David James in the role of Max Detweiler, who managed to pull much laughter from the crowd and show off some fabulous showmanship in “No Way To Stop It”. With all these strong voices around him I did feel that Cameron Daddo’s moments somehow felt a tinsy bit overshadowed. I also found that I wasn’t quite prepared for a more cheerful Captain, but his handsome stalking about the stage and slightly endearing awkwardness certainly brought back some of that infatuation for Captains in uniform, and his emotional “Edelweiss” was another favourite of the evening.
But the truly big moments belonged to Jacqueline Dark as The Mother Abess, and Lord can she sing. Her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” at the end of Act One had everyone left in absolute awe, taking a bit of a moment to come back to reality for the intermission. Definitely making good use of those opera lungs!
The interestingly thing about seeing such a much-loved story come to life in a different medium is that the changes are very apparent, so for me the only tic of the production is that some of the songs seem ever so slightly superfluous. All of these of course being those that are not in the original film, so they obviously feel “added”. I’m sure if I got to know them better I’d love them just as much though.
The Sound of Music is really a family musical, bringing delight to all faces and enthusiastic singing to everyone’s lips. This particular production goes above and beyond to achieve this, making all our favourite things about the music sparkle and making us wish that we’d never have to say so long, farewell.
High on a hill at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, The Sound of Music is playing to February lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo! For more information visit www.soundofmusictour.com.au
The reviewer attended the Opening Night performance on the 17th December.