The Sound of Music

by | Mar 5, 2024

Review by Kelly-Louise Austin

 

The Sound of Music is a firm favourite among generations of theatre goers, and that ongoing love was confirmed looking at the range of young and old in attendance for Theatrical’s red carpet opening night on Saturday.

The Sound of Music is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children. 

The curtains open to a dark stage with the beautifully hand painted backdrop of the Nonnberg Abbey, and the stunning harmonies of the Nuns. Throughout the entire performance, the chorus of Nuns were stunning, with tight harmonies and beautiful dynamics. An absolute credit to not only their talent but also to the music direction team.

Soon after, we meet our Maria, played with the most perfect amount of humour, compassion, naivety and love by Tayla Dwyer. Dwyer nailed every single song with the most stunning voice, and you could tell that her connection with each of the children was genuine. Her Maria is easily one of the best that I have seen and heard.

 

 

Sister Berthe (Keren Evans) Sister Margaretta (Manon Franiatte) and Sister Sophia (Christine Wood) bounced off each other with the right amount of joy and humor in Maria, joined by the kind yet formidable Mother Abbess played by Amanda Stevenson. The famous act one conclusion “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” bought goosebumps to the audience and finished both acts to loud applause from the very appreciative audience.

The Von Trapp children that I saw perform on opening night were an absolute delight, all extremely talented with beautiful voices and superb characterisations. Well done to Damon Willis as Fredrich,
Stephanie Adamson as Louisa, Matteo Maxwell as Kurt, Ruby Mcgrath as Brigitta, Xoli McGinnes as Marta and Adeline Baker as Gretl. So Long, Farewell was a crowd favourite, and mine too.

I would particularly like to mention Charlotte Holland who played Leisl. Holland danced beautifully, and has a sunning voice, and played against Kael D’Alterio’s handsome Rolf with perfection.

John Parncutt brings us Captain Von Trapp, and it was lovely to see him take the character from the stern, harsh Naval Captain to loving Father and husband. Whilst the chemistry between Maria and the Captain wasn’t always convincing, he embodied the role well and his performance of Edelweiss was lovely.

 

 

 

A huge highlight for me was Brett O’Meara, playing the character of Max. Everytime O’Meara stepped on stage he bought humour, lightness and laughs, as well as a great singing voice and amazing presence.

The cast was accompanied by a wonderful orchestra under the leadership of Musical Director Kent Ross and Assistant Musical Director Alex Byrne. The orchestra was cohesive and balanced at all times with nary a note out of place.

At a time in our existence where some of the themes and content can be upsetting or triggering, I felt that this production presented the factual content in a very appropriate way. It is a story that needs to be told, and Director Shnider has managed to tell this story with skill and thoughtfulness.

The sets were appropriately simple and the hand-painted backdrops were stunning. The costumes were mostly appropriate to the time period.

The only thing lacking for me was continuity with accents throughout the show that became quite distracting.

Overall, Theatricals The Sound of Music was an enjoyable night out.

 

Tickets are available from Theatrical.com.au

 

The show is running until Sunday March 17th at The National Theatre St Kilda.

 

*Please be aware that this performance includes references to the Nazi regime and associated symbols. Any display of Nazi symbols is for a genuine artistic or cultural purpose in accordance with the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Act 2022 (Vic) and in no way supports or condones Nazism and its ideologies.

Photo Credit: Nicole Cleary

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