As soon as the harmonic hum of the nuns in the abbey starts and the dim light from the candles they’re holding comes up, you know you’re in for something special.
Once Amy Lehpamer as Maria Rainer launches into the title song, it’s clear this is no run-of-the-mill production of The Sound of Music.
The Sound of Music
- Now playing at The Regent Theatre
The show opened in Melbourne last night to a star-studded audience of celebrities including Patti Newton, Josh Thomas and even the original Friedrich from the film, Nicholas Hammond.
Also starring Cameron Daddo as Captain Von Trapp and Marina Prior as Baroness Schraeder, the much-loved musical tells the story of the Von Trapp family through song, dance and comedy. The stage show is slightly different to the movie, with songs shuffled around to make it a bit shorter (many a parent I’m sure has used the movie to occupy the kids for a good three and half hours).
It’s arguably the world’s best-known musical, and as such is perhaps met with preconceptions of being too cutesy or vanilla, particularly in comparison to modern musicals such as Wicked or Once.
But what is often forgotten is the true story it’s based on, and the strength of the family to flee from the Nazi regime. In the second act when Captain Von Trapp sings Edelweiss, a song named for Austria’s national flower, surrounded by Nazi officers and flags bearing swastikas, the reality of what the family must have gone through hits home.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, the catchy songs sung by Maria and the children are whimsically choreographed. Again, it’s easy to write off songs like My Favourite Things and Do-Re-Mi, but if you really listen to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s composition and the intricate harmonies performed by the outstanding child cast, it’s hard not to swell with joy and perhaps even hum along.
Amy Lehpamer’s performance is outstanding, and from where I was sitting, it could have been a young Julie Andrews gracing the stage. Jacqueline Dark as the Mother Abbess delivers a stunning performance, and does more than justice to the emotional and technically beautiful Climb Every Mountain.
The sets and costumes are visually stunning, the comic timing of the cast is well-honed and of course those famous songs are performed to perfection. It’s truly a must-see for the whole family.