Fifty years ago, the two biggest screen sensations were The Sound of Music and Thunderball.
James Bond is back on our screens in Spectre, a new film named after the world domination organisation from Thunderball, and The Sound of Music has returned to the stage in a production inspired by the London Palladium show of a few years ago.
So ingrained is the music and lyrics of The Sound of Music, thanks mainly to the film version, that attending this attraction at the Capitol is like being at an elaborate and colossal karaoke. Indeed under breath singing, and very audible foot tapping and hand-clapping accompanied some numbers.
This production opens with a bang and a wimple, a marvellous nun's chorus, a legion of candle bearing canoness who step off the stage and populate the auditorium for the Dixit Dominus. Stunning singing and imagery.
Cut to Maria with the shows signature tune, sung against a sunny Alpine backdrop. Comfortable as old cardy, the tune is beautifully rendered by Amy Lehpamer, topping off a marvellous year of musical theatre that has included Rocky Horror and High Society.
Then we get more nuns with the delightful How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, a superlatively playful rendition, led by the Abbess, a show stealing presence in Jacqueline Dark, whose Climb Every Mountain is a revelation.
Favourite things in any production of The Sound of Music – the kids – and they don't disappoint. On opening night we had the charms and talent of Jude Padden-Row as Friedrich, Savannah Clarke as Louise, Louis Fotaine as Kurt, Madison Russo as Brigitta, Erica Giles as Marta and Nakita Clarke as Gretl, led by the gorgeous Stefanie Jones as oldest sister, Liesl, sixteen going on seventeen.
Marina Prior excels as the Baroness Schraeder, a beautifully shaded characterisation and performance, so much so that had Maria not been able to confront what she can't face, audiences would not have minded had she ended up with Cameron Daddo's Captain Von Trapp.
Good comic support is provided by David James as Max, Philip Dodd as Franz and Lorraine Bayly as Frau Schmidt, and great work overall by the ensemble and swing.
The design of the show was compromised somewhat by the overuse of smoke haze, completely out of place in this decidedly non rock musical, and giving the appearance that the Von Trapp habitat was a fire trap. More the hills are alight than the hills are alive.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Frost, David Ian and the Really Useful Group present
The Sound of Music
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Director Jeremy Sams
Venue: Capitol Theatre, Sydney
Dates: from 13 December 2015
Tickets: from $79.90
Bookings: soundofmusictour.com.au | 1300 111 011
ALSO Touring nationally in 2016