Stagecraft: Libretto : Performance
A classic is a classic, there’s no doubting that, from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ to Sylvester’s ‘Do You Wanna Funk,’ & there is something equally as primally brilliant in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Sound of Music.’ Yet with any theatrical production, the script or libretto counts only towards the spectator’s experience, & it is up to any particular troupe to deliver the residual genius in a classic. Luckily, Bill Kenwright’s touring version is completely top-notch & whether an old skool fan or post-millennium baby, this musical is sublime in its majesty.
The story is that of the Von Trapp family; Captain Von Trapp, his seven children & Maria Rainer, a troublesome nun sent to govern the children. In the wake of the death of their mother, she brings love, light & music into a gloomy household, resulting in some of the very best of Rodgers & Hammerstein. From the moment the abbey pillars descend onto stage to the nuns singing celestial ‘Alleluia,‘ we are swept into the heart of the Austrian Alps with a striking realism. From here those famous, famous songs are delivered pitch-perfect with Lucy O’Byrne a sensation as Maria.
Full of the most beautiful moments, this production contains the seeds for a joyous soar of the soul, with excellent choreography, darling child-actors & a nifty supporting cast, all set against excellent backdrops. The highlight for me was the stunning ‘Do-Re-Mi,’in which Maria teaches the children the musical scale. The handling of the sentiment of pre-anschluss Austria & its nervy aftermath were also done with a keen relish. Mark Fischer told the Mumble, ‘In outline, the story told in the Sound of Music is similar to what actually happened. To make a good tale even better, the stage version is romanticised, simplified & compressed, but it also has much in common with reality.‘ The Sound of Music serves not just as a glorious spectacle, but also as an accurate historical document. Pleasure-bringing singing & academic education is a heady mix, which all of us should witness soon.
Reviewer : Damo Bullen