Whether you have watched the classic film staring Julie Andrews and/or have watched a performance of this long-running stage musical before, most people would have at heard of The Sound of Music. Now well and truly into its second half-century of being performed on stages across the world, this show has descended upon Australia once again for a national tour – with its second stop being the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) Lyric Theatre. Having watched the film several times before but never having had an opportunity to witness this story on-stage… what does 24-year-old me think of this production? Read on to find out!
While those who have only watched the film will quickly pick up a number of song shuffles and other differences which occurred when it was originally adapted from stage to screen, the crux of the storyline remains more or less the same. The Sound of Music has been inspired (but is not a completely accurate representation) of the lives of the real von Trapp family. It follows the story of Maria Rainer (Portrayed by Amy Lehpamer), a postulant who is considerably chirpier and more down-to-earth than others who reside at Nonnberg Abbey. At the request of Mother Abbess (Jacqueline Dark), she is enlisted as a governess to the family led by Captain Georg von Trapp (Cameron Daddo). Strict and stern, Captain von Trapp has little affection for his children, going as far as addressing them by blows of a whistle. But this all changes when Maria brings music and a new found joy into their lives.
The storyline itself heart-warming and enjoyable, and it is always lovely to watch Maria bring joy into an otherwise dull and dreary household. The show also presented a good balance between musical numbers and delivering a plot within its two and a half hour runtime. However while this balance is good, and you are not inundated with too many songs or too long a period without a tune, it was hard not to feel that the storyline was rushed. Relationships bloom within the course of a couple of songs, and it was a bit challenging to feel much attachment to certain characters given they receive only minimal development. While it would have required significant changes to this Rogers & Hammerstein classic, I left really wanting another 30 minutes of development and plot. Don’t get me wrong however, as what was presented was good, and delivered a heart-warming yet sometimes emotional and intense storyline.
In my opinion, the shining star of The Sound of Music was Jacqueline Dark as Mother Abbess. Her performance of Climb Ev’ry Mountain in Act 1 sent chills down my spine, and was a pitch perfect performance from start to finish. Following her time as Janet in the Rocky Horror Show, Amy Lehpamer also shines in the very different role of Maria – providing very warm and enjoyable performances. Although he didn’t have as prominent singing role compared to other characters, Cameron Daddo also showcased some strong vocal cords as Captain Von Trapp. The other adult cast members, both with singing and non-singing roles, were also well cast and suited to their character roles – including Marina Prior as Baroness Schraeder, Lorraine Bayly as Frau Schmidt and David James as Max Detweiler.
Then we have the von Trapp children. The seven children I watched perform on stage during opening night were brilliant and managed to deliver their roles very well. While I assume the quality is consistently high across the other two groups of children, I feel that Stephanie Jones (Leisl), Luke Harrison (Frederich), Sophie Moman (Louisa), Sam Green (Kurt), Emma Louise Cobb (Brigitta) and Amelia Ayris (Marta) all deserve a special mention. An even greater special mention must go to Dana Weaver as Gretyl, simply because I cannot imagine performing infront of thousands of people as an adult… let alone when I was just seven years ago. Watching these youth and Amy Lehpamer perform Do-Re-Mi was a highlight of the night for me.
In terms of staging, the set was clearly built to facilitate the quick and rapid change between locales, the most prominent being various locations within Nonnberg Abbey and the von Trapp Villa. Set changes took place within seconds, and didn’t interrupt the flow of the story in any way. There was also a very interesting design for the Concert Hall near the end, which really drew me in to the setting. However, while above par, it was slightly lacking compared to other stage musicals which have graced the Lyric Theatre stage in the past six months in my opinion. It didn’t completely compete with the glitz associated with Strictly Ballroom the Musical, the sophistication of Les Miserables or the magical junkyard of Cats. However, this in more of a trivial issue on my part more than anything else – and nevertheless suited the tone and pacing of the show well.
Final Words on The Sound of Music
The latest Australian production of The Sound of Music has shown me that this classic stage musical can still shine on stage, and be enjoyed by young and older theatre-goers alike. While the lover of stories in me would have loved some extra time to build upon the plot and its characters further, given the plot does tend to feel a little rushed, these thoughts have had to go up against a fantastic assortment of music performed by a great cast and a lot of the heartwarming moments throughout the show. It would in my opinion be a great choice for those looking to have a good night (or afternoon) out, and I hope to see it once more before it heads down to the Melbourne Regent Theatre in May.
About The Sound of Music in Brisbane
Tickets to see The Sound of Music at QPAC are now on sale, priced between $69.90 and $140.90, depending on session choice, seating preference and concession status (select shows). There will also be a special Ausland interpreted performance held on Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 6.30pm (MORE INFORMATION HERE). For more information on the show and to book tickets, visit the official QPAC website or contact their box office.
Other Articles on The Sound of Music Australia
- Interview With Cameron Daddo | The Sound of Music Australia’s Captain von Trapp
- The Sound of Music Australia to Hold Queensland Opening Night this Evening
- Brisbane’s von Trapp Children Announced for The Sound of Music