Feature Theatre & Reviews

The Sound of Music: spectacular

Over the years I have been fortunate to have seen a number of South African productions of the “The Sound of Music.”

On each occasion there was a facet that stood out. In this spectacular new production at the Teatro, directed by Jeremy Sams, it’s the glorious children who provided the cornerstone of this show. The group I saw on media night were utterly enchanting and stole every scene from their adult counterparts.

From the very mature looking 16-year-old (going on 17) Liesl (Zoe Bevon) to the tiniest and most adorable member of the cast, Gretl (Ruby Mia Cohen), they all shone. Daniel Roberts as the older Von Trapp son Friedrich, Luca Teague as Louisa, Caleb Spence as Kurt, Mia Nupen as Brigitta and Ruth Alexis Boyd as Marta – all worked together as a cohesive whole, surrounding the production with its heart and soul.

The adults were outgunned, I’m afraid. Andre Schwartz played Capt Von Trapp and Carmen Pretorius the pivotal part of Maria, using her vocal powers to great effect.

Also soaring above the clouds in the vocal department was Janelle Visagie as The Mother Abbess, whose rendition of Climb Ev’ry Mountain brought the capacity house down. Jonathan Taylor was Max Detweiler, a family friend and confidante who discovers the children’s singing prowess, while Haylea Heyns played the rich and manipulative Baroness Schraeder who has her eye on marrying the wealthy Captain. Rika Sennett was effective as Frau Schmidt, the starchy head of the household.

Rolf, the messenger, who weaves a romantic spell around the impressionable Liesl was played by Michael McMeeking.

This version is a visual feast with stunning costumes and an imaginative set and a live orchestra, under the baton of Kevin Kraak, rendering all those famous songs with a great deal of style and punch.

The story of the Von Trapp Family, the love between Captain Von Trapp and the often troubled governess Maria, and the rising tide of Nazism on their doorstep is well documented. It boasts amazing values and integrity, aspects that help to make this timeless, a show that both parents and their children have enjoyed for generations.  The narrative remains faithful to the book and is punctuated by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s magnificent score which continually lifts the production.

The big, bold musical, when thoughtfully put together, is a tonic for the soul and “The Sound of Music” once again demonstrates its immense staying power. It is slick and energetic.

The Sound of Music is on at the Teatro, Montecasino, Fourways, until the 29 April.

 

About the author

Peter Feldman

Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.

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