By Liv Wilson
The Sound Of Music
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Production Director Deian Ping
Musical Director Julie Whiting
Choreographer Isabel Byrne
Queensland Musical Theatre
Twelfth Night Theatre
Season: Ends June 12. Bookings: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SOUNDMUS22
Set against the backdrop of a fast approaching Second World War The Sound of Music follows the tale of a young woman named Maria who is failing at her attempts to become a nun. When widowed Navy Captain Georg Von Trapp writes to Nonnberg Abbey asking for a governess that can handle his seven mischievous children, Maria is given the job. The children are unhappy and resentful of the governesses that keep arriving. When Maria arrives, she is initially met with the same hostility, but her kindness and understanding of the children’s unique personalities and quirks win them all over, even the Captain. This is a story that centres on defying personal challenges and following your heart’s desire, no matter how unreachable it may seem.
Queensland Musical Theatre produced an admirable rendition of The Sound of Music with all the treasured and iconic elements that audiences all around the world know and love. I’m eager to see their next production as I am sure it will be as professional and enjoyable as this was.
The cast wad led by Production Director, Deian Ping who honoured the classic directorial style from both the 1965 movie and original Broadway production. I was thrilled to see that Ping worked hand-in-hand with designer, Gerard Livsey to create a truly wonderful set for the show. The on-stage transformation between locations like Nonnberg Abbey & the Von Trapp’s family estate were seamless and creatively designed. The creative team used the space to their advantage and it created depth to the production which kept you immersed in the narrative.
Lara Boyle played Maria with extraordinary grace and charm. Boyle’s vocals were off the charts all night and seemed to get better with every song, which is impressive considering the strong start in her opening song. Boyle’s characterisation of the treasured character was compelling and carefully thought out. Lara shone on stage and had a brilliant way of making others around her shine also- a quality only a seasoned performer can hold. Boyle was particularly good when she was with the Von Trapp children. I was blown away by the way she lifted scenes with her witty character choices by injecting just the right amount of humour into the dialogue.
Boyle led ‘Do-Re-Mi’ to perfection which ultimately became one of my favourite performances of the night. The intricate choreography by Isabel Byrne and the pitch perfect vocals directed by Julie Whiting were showcased beautifully in this number.
The Von Trapp children (Nonnberg Cast) were what really made the show the success that it was. With high quality individual performances by all and lovable group interactions, you will want to get to this production just to watch their talent shine. I was particularly impressed by Genevieve Krause (Brigitta), Matilda Wilson (Gretl) and Benjamin O'Regan Lambert. (Kurt) for their impeccable acting and understanding of their characters. Matilda Wilson was a crowd favourite with her adorable facial expressions and confidence- well done!
Madeline Harper (Liesl) and Quinn Chambers (Rolf) had great chemistry in their duet ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ which was very reminiscent of the film in both choreography and characterisation. I would have loved Harper’s portrayal of Liesl even more if she had played the character slightly older. I feel as if that would have portrayed the tension her character is feeling about transitioning from girl to woman more accurately. She clearly has a bright future in musical theatre and was especially strong in the reprise of ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ with Lara Boyle.
The Sound of Music isn’t complete without a powerful Captain Von Trapp who was played by Nathaniel Currie, a scheming Elsa Schraeder portrayed by Kate Retzki, a charming Max Detweiler who was played by Kris Brennan or a heartwarming Mother Abbess played by Kathryn Bradbury.
Nathaniel Currie had a powerful stage presence and captured the status and charm of the Captain very well. The romantic connection between Currie’s Captain and Boyle’s Maria was natural and slowly built up during the course of the show at the perfect pace. I believe the casting of these two was perfect.
Kate Retzki was utterly brilliant as Elsa, she played the ‘out of touch’ snooty character very well and had one of the best accents of the night. I loved casting my eye her way when she wasn’t the focus of a scene because she was always busy with background acting and snarky characterisation. I would recommend you do the same, it certainly made me laugh on several occasions!
Kathryn Bradbury’s performance in Climb Ev’ry Mountain is one I won’t forget any time soon. It was impactful and surprisingly moving given the recent adversities seen around the world. The quality of Bradbury’s vocals and acting were second-to-none and I would go as far as saying that she gives a masterclass on the power of subtle acting choices.
The orchestra, lighting and sound crews were on-point for most of the night and only experienced a few minor ‘opening night’ errors. I’m sure these will all get ironed out in the coming performances.
If the audience’s joyous reactions throughout the show were any indication, I’d say this production was a huge success and all involved should be proud of their efforts in bringing this iconic piece of theatre to life!