Vocals hold up well in slick production

Marian Poole
Marian Poole

Marian Poole reviews the New Zealand production of Rogers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music
Regent Theatre
Friday, Oct 27

Dunedin people filled the Regent Theatre for the widely acclaimed New Zealand version of that iconic 1959 Rogers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music on the last leg of its New Zealand-wide tour.

Geraldine Brophy has an impressive list of successes in New Zealand drama. She directed and produced The Sound of Music and played the part, appropriately enough, of Frau Schmidt, the Trapp family's curmudgeonly house servant.

On such an exhaustive touring schedule it is amazing that the voices, assisted by mics, remained mostly intact, true to pitch and of excellent quality.

Overall the production and acting were very slick.

Good use was made of a simple stage design even in the penultimate darkened scene as the family hide from Nazi soldiers convincingly played by Andrew Laing and Ethan Keenan.

Fatigue might explain the occasional loss of words and overlong pauses between lines noticeable from the lead male, Captain Von Trapp, played by Damien Avery.

Otherwise Avery's performance was impeccable. He remained in good voice and made a credible transition from a stiff-necked Captain into a doting Dad.

Tizane McEvoy performed the lead role expertly in the Andrews' vein with giddy enthusiasm. Amazingly McEvoy's voice also showed little signs of fatigue.

Lynda Milligan played Mother Abbess with ample kindly authority.

Paul Barrett, playing Uncle Max, made good use of the witty interjections. Ruby Hansen's Elsa and Cameron Barclay's Rolfe were convincingly portrayed.

The sisters, Julia Guthrey, Julie Edwards and Cally Castell, produced beautiful liturgical-sounding harmonies and a bouncing, witty repartee.

The children were all delightful and well rehearsed.

Though aspects of the musical have dated - Maria's explanation of her wifely duties to her seven step-children for example - the audience was fully engaged in the show's rose-tinted world where every mountain needs to be climbed and children embrace step-mothers unequivocally.


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