The Sound of Music has been a firm family favourite since the release of Richard Wise’s film in 1965. A few songs from Rogers and Hammerstein’s 1959 show were left out of the movie, so in a way the version currently at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is an original cut. At three hours long, you might expect it to be a bit laboured, but this is a show that flies by like whirling dervish.
There are many stand-out moments, most notably featuring the operatic nuns at the abbey where Maria is a problem that can’t be solved. At the helm as Mother Abbess is Celine Byrne, a soprano who hails from Naas in Kildare. Her stunning performance of ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ ensured she received a standing ovation when it came to curtain call on the night I was in attendance.
Dubliner Lucy O’Byrne is also wonderful as Maria, making a character so associated with Julie Andrews, her very own. Appearing in almost every single scene, she shows great stamina, as do her charges, the von Trapp children, who are like a set of Russian dolls – all perfectly lined up. Their performance of ‘So Long, Farewell’ is a piece of nostalgic joy, and their ‘Lonely Goatherd’ is a sublime little show of its own.
It’s slightly hard to believe, however, that these seven children are the offspring of this particular Captain von Trapp, as played by Neil McDermott, who looks slightly younger than his oldest, Liesel. Still his performance is pitch perfect, as is his voice when it comes to ‘Edelweiss’.
The original songs are rooted in storylines that are more off-stage in the film, such as ‘How Can Love Survive’, in which Captain von Trapp’s fiancée, Elsa and musical impersario Max cynically sing about love and money, and ‘No Way To Stop It’, where Max and Elsa try to convince the Captain to collaborate with the Nazi’s
All the standards are there of course, and the performances are just that bit relaxed enough to let the audience sing along, making it an immersive experience, as if we’re all transported to Salzburg for ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘My Favourite Things’. Like cream coloured ponies or crisp apple strudel, it makes for a marvellous night out the whole family can enjoy.
‘The Sound of Music’ runs at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre until January, 6th. Tickets are available here.
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