The Sound of Music is best known for its 1965 film adaptation renowned for the sweeping landscapes, the catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes and of course, Julie Andrews. The movie is so well known and loved that, even though The Sound of Music was originally a stage production, one cannot help but use the movie as a reference point.
Given that the film enjoys 2 hours and 54 minutes for plot and character development, it is no wonder that the stage production feels like a fast-paced highlights reel. All of the favourite numbers are there – ‘My Favourite Things’, ‘The Lonely Goatherd’, ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’, ‘The Sound of Music’ etc… and they are all performed exceptionally. But with all of the music, there is little time for anything else. There is no time for the children to really be mischievous, the Baroness Schraeder barely presents herself as a love interest, then, BAM! Maria and Georg are married, and here come the Nazis!
Amy Lehpamer creates the greatest character depth in Maria – she is lovely. She manages to strike a fine balance between the goofy girl governess and the love interest to Cameron Daddo’s Captain Von Trapp, who is regimented and stern throughout. Lehpamer’s rendition of ‘The Sound of Music’ to open the production is spine tingling, counterbalancing the anticipation of the performance against the nostalgia of the film.
It is the Von Trapp children who steal the show! Stefanie Jones (Liesl), with the opening night cast – Nathan Stafford (Friedrich), Jacinda Tsakalos (Louisa), Oscar Bridges (Kurt), Alicia Hammond (Brigitta), Danika Roach (Marta) and little Anna McAuliffe (Gretl) – are all exceptional. Oscar Bridges’ voice is angelic and the whole family combines beautifully in ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘So Long, Farewell’.
When the swastikas drape from the ceiling and the Nazi soldiers enter the auditorium, the mood in the audience palpably shifts. The Von Trapp Family Singers and their performance ‘Edelweiss’ is just the right amount of uncomfortable, allowing for a political statement to be made without entirely overpowering the family orientated nature of this production.
The Sound of Music is brimming with nostalgia and familiarity. Objectively, it meets expectations – the performances are very good, the sets create a sense of awe and beauty, the lighting and sound compliment the onstage action to perfection. It just doesn’t quite reach the standard set by the film – but how could it?