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Brisbane review- The Sound of Music: well-balanced and very enjoyable.

By Lilian Harrington

The Sound of Music

By Roger and Hammerstein / Maria Von Trapp

The Company: Redcliffe Musical Theatre (RMT)

Director: Madeleine Johns

Musical Director: Rhonda Davidson -Irwin

Redcliffe Entertainment Centre

Season: 29 September - 8 October (Fri. Sat. Sun. Evgs. 7 pm and Mats. 2 pm)

Bookings: Try /or at the theatre.

The Sound of Music, inspired by true events, is a much loved musical, staged by Redcliffe Musical Theatre( R.M.T).and is now playing at The Redcliffe Entertainment Centre, Redcliffe.

The lovely vocals and musical numbers inspires me to quote “The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years. The hills fill my heart with the sound of music.”

When I heard the nun’s chorus and the solos from Mother Abbess,(sung by Amanda Hutton),I noted how much talent exists in our local theatre companies, so often underrated! The audience are in for a timeless treat and even if the show seems longer than expected, it doesn’t affect audience attention or interest levels. The cast played to a very supportive audience on a night when the theatre was competing with Footy Finals and the Kings’ Birthday long weekend!

The time and energy taken to mount a musical can be a challenge, but R. M. T. didn’t disappoint. The staging and set design by Madeleine and Johnathan Johns worked effectively, and the costumes team, lead by Karen Van Den Bos provided beautifully styled and appropriate outfits.

Musical Director, Rhonda Davidson - Irwin, coached the orchestra and cast effectively and cast performances reached a high standard. Maria (played by Stephanie Collins), the young postulant, plans on a life in the local convent, but fate takes a hand when Mother Abbess realises that the wilful and musically gifted Maria, (who has trouble following convent routines and procedures),would be better suited to working as a governess with Captain Von Trapp’s (Loic Valmy) seven children.

The young nun finds life at the Von Trapp house is very regimented dressed in formal uniform the children all have to respond to their father’s whistle. Maria finds this very restrictive and she uses her music skills to teach the children songs, dance and music, and quickly bonds with them. Their father is keen to remarry and becomes engaged to the beautiful Baroness (Jamie Talijaard), a wealthy business woman from the City, who doesn’t relish being a fulltime mother to the Captain’s children; it’s not as important to her as being wealthy and living the corporate life in the city. Berlin dictates and the war approaches, and the Nazis are demanding that Captain Von Trapp return to the Austrian Navy immediately. The Baroness doesn’t share the same views as the Captain. The engagement is broken off.

The Captain’s dubious friend, (a Government Officer), Uncle Max, played by (Erickson IIustre), has organised a major local concert through the National Education Secretariat and entered the Von Trapp Family into the competition. He’s keen to promote both his own interests and the Von Trapp singers.

The Nazis are closing in on Austria and everyone is now under Hitler’s rule. Captain Von Trapp knows he’s out of options; he has to weigh up losing his family if he goes back to the Navy, or disobeying the Nazis. Despite the risks, he chooses to escape with his family; they are helped by the Nuns before escaping over the Alps, to Switzerland.

The cast, especially Maria (Stephanie Collins) and the Von Trapp children, worked well together. The young Gretel (Tiarna Douglas) was a delight on stage as was the dancing and singing from Liesl (Ashlee Herman) and Rolf (Lucas Van Stam). Although the scene transitions needed to be faster in places, the use of flying flats, and the projected back-ground images of local scenes made it easier; plus the cast benefitted from having the orchestra centrally positioned unseen upstage. Overall, The Sound of Music was well-balanced and very enjoyable.


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