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Review: The Sound of Music


Singer and actress Amy Lehpamer is perfect as the exuberant postulant Maria in this goosebump-inducing touring production of ‘The Sound of Music’, writes InDaily reviewer Jo Vabolis.

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Any devotees of musical theatre out there who don’t already love the Sound of Music? You’ve put up your hand? Well, don’t be put off – there’s a lot to like about this latest version of the classic musical and it’s certainly worth the ticket price, not just for die-hard fans, but also newcomers seeking a great night out.

First, a quick summary of the storyline for the handful of people who aren’t already familiar with the true tale of the Trapp Family Singers. Maria wants to become a nun. She’s taken the first step by moving to Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, but to say her studies are not going well would be an understatement. She’s exuberant, energetic, and she loves to sing – personal qualities not appreciated by the rest of the religious community.

Mother Abbess sends the wayward postulant out to work as a governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain, in the hope that she’ll have the space she needs to decide where her future lies. Maria’s love of life transforms the family’s regimented world as well as her own, but their happiness is short-lived.

War comes to Austria, and soon the family must find a way to escape before the captain is drafted into the German navy and forced to fight on the side of Nazis.

Julie Andrews, beloved star of the 1965 movie, is a tough act to follow. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium production first premiered in 2006 starring TV talent competition winner Connie Fisher in the lead role. Now, in Adelaide as part of that production’s Australian tour, we have the wonderful Amy Lehpamer, whose performance as Maria Rainer can be summed up in one word – perfect.

As the central character, Lehpamer’s Maria is instantly likeable and her voice is faultless.

The singing is strong all round, with several exceptional performances. Jacqueline Dark’s Mother Abbess is a nuanced mix of power and empathy as she steers her young charge toward her true destiny. She closes Act One with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and it’s one of several “goosebump” moments.

The von Trapp children are all charming, energetic and look like they’re having the time of their lives. Stefanie Jones’ Liesl deserves a special mention for her spot-on portrait of a young girl forced to grow up fast due to her family’s changing circumstances.


Popular Australian performers Marina Prior (Baroness Schraeder) and Lorraine Bayly (Frau Schmidt) are both well suited to their roles, as is Cameron Daddo, who brings a more vulnerable and appealing demeanour to Captain Georg von Trapp than Christopher Plummer did in his stern film characterisation.

Don’t buy a ticket expecting a faithful rendition of the film. Instead, look forward to a show aligned more closely with the original 1959 Broadway stage musical. Obsessive Sound of Music fans need not panic, though; all the much-loved songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein are here, supplemented by a few less-familiar numbers that didn’t make the jump from the stage to the movie.

The set design makes effective use of a series of sliding panels to create the key locations of the abbey, the mansion and the famous mountain hillside, but it’s the scene at the Salzburg Festival that really packs a punch. The combination of giant banners and two flanks of soldiers provides a dark underscore to the moment when the captain, singing “Edelweiss”, momentarily succumbs to grief under the weight of the fate approaching his beloved Austria.

Adelaide has seen at least two previous versions of this musical in the past, yet tickets for this latest staging of the Sound of Music have sold well from the start. Any remaining unsold seats will no doubt be snapped up as soon as word gets out about the superb quality of this new production.

The Sound of Music is playing at the Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, until September 4.

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