Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sound of Music: The Hills, Unfortunately, Were Not Alive...

Ok, so...After hearing nothing but RAVE reviews from the media, friends, etc about the Mirvish production of the Sound of Music, I decided to drop the $175 it costs for the "cheap seats."

As S and I sat waiting for the production to begin, (eating our chocolate covered almonds and drinking our beverages *in the theatre,* which one can apparently do now) I decided to peruse the program. As I began to read the "biographies" of many of the players, I noted that the preamble "...is thrilled to be performing in his/her first major production" was attached to nearly all of the major roles. I was not necessarily phased by the fact that none of the cast had much experience, but admittedly it is a little strange to be reading about the summer music and drama camp in New York attended by a certain cast member, and that Maria basically won her role American Idol-style, as though these are valid forms of experience.

As the play started, my fears were allayed by the set. It was absolutely stunning...as were the special effects. The mountains were portrayed perfectly, and the set crew did a formidable job of making it seem as though the characters were actually in Austria (aside from the British Accents, but that's entirely another beef I have with the art of drama...and it has nothing to do with the set). Aside from a small technical mishap, in which one of the backdrops came down on top of some props and got jammed, the set was definitely the pearl in this production.

In general, I was NOT impressed with the vocal/acting talent of any particular member of the cast (and let's face it, when you're paying for top-notch, you expect at least top-notch). The chemistry between Captain Von Trapp and Maria was non-existent, to the point I was confused by all the talk of "what had been building between them for a very long time." Most of the main characters delivered flat, almost boring performances, except for Maria, who was just trying too hard. The exception to this unfortunate rule was the Mother Abbess, who's powerful rendition of "Climb Every Mountain" was the musical climax of the show.

Overall, this performance felt more like a highschool production than a professional one (save for the set)...and I would have been more than happy to pay $20 a ticket to see it.
My verdict: Save your money and watch the movie...Julie Andrews is the ONLY Maria in my heart.

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