|Lydia Milosavljevic (Maria) surrounded by the Von Trapp children.
Photo: Helen Musa
by Anthony Swadling and Alison Newhouse for Queanbeyan Players.
Direction by Jenna Hinton – Choreographed by Jodi Hammond
design by Janette Humphrey – Set Design by Thompson Quan Wing
Design by Jacob Aquilina – Sound Design by Nick Cossart
Queanbeyan until 21st March 2021.
moment Willum Hollier-Smith took the stage to welcome the audience and announce
that he wouldn’t be playing Kurt at this performance, (he was on crutches and
did manage to sing beautifully as the Alter Boy later in the show) the audience
sensed that this production was going to be special. And indeed it was.
Based on a
memoir by Maria Von Trapp, “The Sound of Music” has been an audience magnet
since its first Broadway performance in 1959. The combination of a love story
involving worldly nuns, cute kids who sing like angels at the drop of a hat,
nasty Nazi’s and one of Rogers and Hammerstein’s best scores continues to prove
as irresistible as ever, but especially as presented in this production where
everyone on stage looks as if they are living every moment.
Swadling and Newhouse have obviously utilised the relatively limited resources
of Queanbeyan Players wisely for their production which successfully captures
the sweep and heart of the source material.
|L - R - Michael Jordan - Edith Baggoley - Lola - Anneke Hollier-Smith - Ebony Gagel
Charleigh Byrne - Joss Kent - Kay Liddiard - Lydia Milosavljevic.
Photo: Michael Moore
superbly painted setting by Thompson Quan Wing, enhanced by a truly lovely
lighting design by Jacob Aquilina, takes on a life of its own as components
swirl around the stage to suggest a variety of different locales inhabited by
the characters. Top marks to Rachel Laloz’s well-drilled stage management team
who worked efficiently to accomplish these changes so skilfully that one wished
at times for the stage lights to remain up so that the changes could be enjoyed
as part of the action.
Cossart’s sound design allows the audience to savour every line of dialogue and
every lyric. Jodi Hammond has devised choreography so unobtrusive and so
appropriate that it looks like the natural responses of the characters who wear
Janette Humphrey’s elegant costumes as if they were born in them.
is superb as Maria, successfully capturing Maria’s combination of conviction
and humility and establishing an immediate bond with the Von Trapp children.
Her sweet clear soprano made each of her songs a joy. Similarly Michael Jordan
was excellently cast as Captain Von Trapp and the on-stage chemistry between
the two made it easy to become swept up in their story.
them, Veronica Thwaites-Brown, who has played Maria in a previous Queanbeyan
Players production, was elegant and sophisticated as the Baroness Elsa Schrader
and Terry Johnson gives his best performance to date as the devious festival
director, Max Detwieler. Kate Liddiard
captures the insecurities of “sixteen going seventeen-year-old Liesl, while
Joss Kent (Friedrich), Sienna Heaver (Louisa) Ebony Gagel (Brigitta), Anneke
Hollier-Smith (Marta) Edith Baggoley (Kurt) and Lola (Gretl) were as winsome
and lovable a family as you could ever hope to meet.
|Lydia Milosavljevic (Maria) - Louise Gaspari (Mother Abbess)
Photo: Helen Musa
Gaspari was perfectly cast as Mother Abbess, bringing dignity and a superb
singing voice to the role. Her singing of “Climb Every Mountain” deservedly
stopped the show on opening night. She received excellent support from Sarah
Powell (Sister Berthe), Dale Rheynolds (Sister Margaretta) and Lauren Welfare
(Rolf), Peter Smith (Franz), Maria Dennehy (Frau Schmidt) and John Potter (Herr
Zeller) all contributed strong performances among the large cast.
The icing on
the cake however was the musical direction provided by Jenna Hinton and her
excellent orchestra. The singing of the nuns in the “Preludium”, “Gadeamus
Domino” and “Confitemini Domino” was arresting, as was that of the children.
review sounds like a rave…then you’re right! Queanbeyan Players have provided
many fine productions over the years but this production of “The Sound of
Music” will stand among their best.
Because Covid restrictions currently
only allow 75% audience capacity, all tickets for the season are sold out.
However Queanbeyan Players have arranged a live-stream of the show on the 20th
March. You’ll find details of how to
watch this livestream on the Queanbeyan Players website.
This review first published in CITY NEWS on 14th March 2021.