This week ‘The Sound of Music’ production finally opened at Nelum Pokuna much to our excitement with months of planning by CinnamonLife together with Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s The Really Useful Group, Company Onstage Ltd and the Broadway Asia Company LLC.
Everyone was holding their breath as they stayed seated to witness the first scene roll. The elaborate sets and the profound music by their orchestra set the mood right from the start. If we were to imagine how the set would look like when the curtains were drawn, it would do no justice to the scene that unfolded, with Maria, played by Carmen Pretorius, sitting on the grass in her angelic presence, against the backdrop of endless mountains.
The sets created for the production is so realistic that many felt as if they were transported to Austria or as if they were watching a movie on the big screen. And to hear her sing ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’ gave goosebumps and flashbacks of the countless times we’ve heard the song or sung it or tried to twirl the way she does.
The next heartening moments are all filled with the scenes that Maria has with the children. What we have all been anticipating the second the show started, is to see the six young and talented Sri Lankan kids playing the Von Trapp children and it was worth the wait. If they were nervous, we couldn’t see any trace of it. To witness them meet the international standards of theatre productions was beyond surreal.
Friedrich to Gretl, the cast of children portrayed their characters impeccably to point with flawless vocal clarity and eloquence. Their singing was perfectly harmonized that for several moments in didn’t even feel like a live performance if not for the slight Sri Lankan accent heard occasionally in their pronunciation.
Much appreciation should be shown to ‘Von Trapp Couple’, for their gratifying chemistry and relationship with the local cast of children, such that we keep forgetting that the two parties have had only a few days to perfect the image of a family that we are so familiar with. Nicholas Maude who plays Captain Von Trapp, portrayed his transition from an uptight father to an affectionate one so beautifully that it was rewarding to see those awaited moments.
Mother Abbess, played by Janelle Visagie, and her performance of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ left a strong impact on us as she belted out the high notes in the final scene of the play with the Von Trapp family climbing the mountain behind her. This would have to be the ultimate climax of the show, despite several other moments of climax with songs such as ‘Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘My Favourite Things’ being songs we have all grown up with.
All in all, it’s guaranteed that those who come to watch the show will leave the hall with a sense of elation and fulfilment having watched a production that shows the level of love, affection and the element of care the characters have for each other, as intended by the original play.
Please await our full review of the production which will come out soon with comments from the audience!
By Melanie Senanayake
Pics by Nisal Baduge