Thoughts on The Sound of Music

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The Regent Theatre is alive with The Sound of Music. Here’s what I thought …

For more information and tickets, go to: soundofmusictour.com.au

I’ve never been a fan of The Sound of Music. The story has never really interested me, I’m not a huge fan of the music and I’ve always felt like the Captain was kind of a dick. So the odds of me liking this production was always going to be stacked against it – but I actually quite enjoyed it.

Perhaps it’s one downfall, is the lack of love. It’s not to say that there’s no chemistry between Cameron Daddo (as the Captain) and Amy Lehpamer (who plays Maria), the flaw is in the story itself. All the “falling in love” happens offstage, meaning the love is referenced but never really seen. As an audience member, it appears the two simply meet, fall in love and are then married within a short span of time – even their wedding seems stale by the lack of romance.

And so, the story does seem a little rushed. I’m unsure of the time span of the musical is meant to be. Months? Years? Days? I couldn’t tell you – but I would have loved more story, more beats and more little moments between the characters. I understand this is not possible, and I completely understand, but I think it would have helped with the pace of the story. I also think that the Captain became nice too early. He appears to go from being stern to sweetheart after one mere song. He didn’t weaken. Just one moment he wasn’t too nice – and the next he was. This, once again, comes down to timing, story and pace, and certainly is not the fault of Cameron Daddo or the cast.

As for the characters themselves, I found Amy to be absolutely adorable as Maria. Amy brings a quirky, fun and unrefined quality to Maria, which I thought not only suited the role but brought another dimension and depth to the character – this is especially important with the pacing problems. She is absolutely perfect, and a joy to watch on stage. It’s good to see her making a mark as a leading lady, after such a strong supporting performance in Once – the musical.

I’ve crushed on Cameron since the 90s (and it was an absolute thrill to tell him how much I enjoyed him in FX. Dream made) any who, so for me, he can do no wrong in the role. He’s sweet, charming and, I imagine this is due to his height and stature, he has a stage presence that can’t be denied. I would have loved to hear him sing more – but that’s simply not part of the story/character. Following on from his role as Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde – the musical (which he was brilliant in!), it is nice to see him playing a likable guy, just like he is in real life.

All the children and supporting cast do a good job in their respected roles. I have heard whispers from people that the stage musical has different character and story beats than in the movie. I picked up on Rolf not ratting the family out, but I didn’t notice any others. Not being a fan of the movie, this is not surprising – but to any hardcore and dedicated fans, this may play a problem in your overall enjoyment – but I just can’t say.

I love musicals with big sets and costumes, and thinking back I can’t remember too many big dance scenes. But I suppose that’s a good thing – it wasn’t needed, and it doesn’t feel like it was missing. The sets, however, were good. There weren’t too many but I never felt like I wanted more. It was clean, simple dressing and it worked. Same goes for the costumes – perfection. I especially liked Maria’s curtain dress. Very charming.

It’s hard not to like this production of The Sound of Music, because there is just so much to like. Yes, it does have it’s flaws, but if you can overlook the pacing, it is something the whole family can enjoy. Although, when the Nazi banners came down, I got a pit in my stomach and thought, ‘oh shit’ right away. Just goes to show how this powerful display, with red lighting, banners and armed soldiers, can so quickly put fear in the hearts of all of us.

Certainly if you look at the other musicals on in Melbourne at the moment, The Sound of Music is the one I would most recommend for families. I still prefer Singin’ in the Rain overall, but this one seems better for small children. I guess, I also liked Matilda better too – but then again, I think this one still wins for most friendly – from my perspective anyway.

The Sound of Music is always going to divide people – some love it, some hate it. I hated it – now I kind of like it … maybe one day I will learn to love it. But, I do think it’s worth going to see whether you hate it, like it or love it.

The Sound of Music is playing at The Regent Theatre until the end of July.
For more information and tickets, go to: soundofmusictour.com.au

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