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SOUND OF MUSIC (article first published : 2005-12-7)

The last time the Playhouse Company produced The Sound of Music over twelve years ago, I have to say I saw only a small portion of it – from the wings! I was playing both Mother Abbess and Frau Schmidt (loooooong story, one day I’ll write a book about it!) so there is very little about this musical I don’t know.

What I do know today is that while the Playhouse Company under the artistic direction of Linda Bukhosini has made tremendous strides in the past 18 months or so, to present a musical of this magnitude demands enormous strain on all resources, particularly from a technical point of view. It’s like regenerating a factory of luxury and expensive vehicles with all mod-cons that has of late been producing standard (but certainly worthwhile) vehicles and catapulting it back into a top notch assembly line that must sustain a punishing pace for over a month. The technical and creative know-how is all there but it’s been out of use for such a long time that the gaps only become evident once the machines start rolling. Some of these gaps were evident on opening night but I firmly believe they will be ironed out very shortly.

Therefore, all congratulations are due to the creative and administrative team for pulling off The Sound of Music which is a wonderful, heart-warming addition to Durban’s line-up of festive entertainment. It is set to be a winner for all ages as well as for old-time fans and those new to the musical.

Director Ralph Lawson brings his solid and all-embracing directorial skills to the production and musical director Graham Scott pulls good performances from the cast who are well-backed by the KZN Philharmonic. Greg King’s designs are impressive and perfectly styled while Neil Stuart Harris once again weaves his magic with costuming.

Angela Kilian is all Maria should be – hoydenish, passionate, sincere and loving. Add to this a stunning voice and the show is worth seeing for her performance alone. Most of the magic of The Sound of Music is the part played by the von Trapp children – all seven of them – and tonight’s cast performed to perfection.

Peter Butler brought a stature and control to Captain von Trapp while Dale Wesson was warm and imposing as the Mother Abbess. Any singer needs a medal for coping with Climb Every Mountain and Dale breezed up there with aplomb! Garth Anderson is an amiable rogue as Max while Clare-Olivia Mortimer was cool and elegant as the Baroness.

Tamar Meskin was nicely forthright as Frau Schmidt and the part of Frantz was well-handled by Thomie Holtzhausen who starts off engaging the audience’s sympathy with his sense of comedy but then has to change as his Nazi affinities are revealed. Nice to see Thandulwazi Ncube, Julie Solomon and Judith Hawthorn bringing their individual energies to the long-suffering nuns who have to put up with Maria’s exploits. Frances Currie is endearing as the gentle Liesl and Tebogo Hlahane was a glowering Herr Zeller.

While The Sound of Music is a delightful true story of romance and humour, there is a more powerful side to it. Set in the late 1930’s in an Austria on the brink of Nazi control, it is also a homage to survival, freedom and the protection of one’s culture against oppression.

The show’s duration is two hours including interval. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (Sundays at 18h00). Matinees on Saturday at 14h00 star Durban actress Liesl Coppin who shares the pivotal role of Maria with Angela Kilian.

Tickets are selling well so early booking is strongly advised. Pre-booked tickets R45, R55 and R75 while those purchased an hour before performances cost R50, R65 and R85. Book through Computicket at http://www3.computicket.com or phone the Playhouse Company’s Dial-A-Seat facility (o/hrs) on 031 369 9596 or dial 031 369 9540. Don’t miss this excellent production. – Caroline Smart




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