The Sound of Music


The Sound Of Muisc GSGilbert and Sullivan Society. The Arts Theatre. 19 Jul 2014

You'd better get in quickly. The "Sold Out" sign was out in Angas Street and opening night won't be the only night. That's one terrific production in The Arts Theatre.

And this is a rave review.

The G&S Society has a track record for classy shows but this one, stepping away from G&S and into Rogers & Hammerstein, may just have created a new benchmark.

From the opening moment, it is a voyage into excellence.

There are the nuns massed beneath the mighty stained glass windows performing a superb piece of a capella choral work. It is just ethereal. The orchestra slips seamlessly into action for Maria out there singing to the mountains. It's a large orchestra down there in the pit and sound designer Matthew Curtis has it pitched perfectly against the singers. The singers all are miked and the sound is well balanced - right up there with the big-budget professional shows.

The Sound of Music is an old favourite which means audience expectations are high. Everyone thinks of Julie Andrews in the lead. Claire McEvoy is not she. Her voice is not Andews-esque soprano. It has its own character and she makes of Maria Rainer a character more earthy and credible. From that first night when the children come to Maria's bed in the thunderstorm, McEvoy owns the role and wins the audience.

She is well supported by Kim Clark as the reserved Captain von Trapp and, as for the children; they are a little pack of pros, many of them former Theatre Bugs and choir singers. They each capture the requisite classic character and Kate Price as 16-year-old Liesl has a lovely voice and stage presence and is definitely a young performer to watch.

Expectations are high for the Mother Abbess, too, in this show.  Marsha Seebohm has it all under control. She brings the house down with the power and beauty of her delivery of Climb Every Mountain. Richard Trevaskis is lots of fun as the family friend Max Detweiler and Bronwen Palmer establishes just the right hauteur as the wife-to-be, Elsa Shraeder. There are strong performances all around and wonderfully tight and cohesive direction of the massive cast from Trish Hart who also designed the sets.

If ever there was a case when the backstage skill and speed deserved credit, this show is it. The sets are many and complex, hoisting and trucking in all directions. They are splendid to look at and they hit all the cues. The same can be said for the impeccable costumes and the lightning costume changes.

The big choral numbers are luscious.  The choreography is spot-on. The stage swarms with talent and commitment. There's attention to detail. The whole show is well-groomed and the overall song it sings is one of theatrical expertise and discipline.

Samela Harris


When: 20 Jul to 2 Aug
Where: Arts Theatre