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Review:  The Sound of Music at The National Theatre 

Review by Mish Graham


"The Sound of Music" at the National Theatre in St Kilda sets out to bring the beloved classic to life, but while it hits some high notes, there are certainly areas that fall flat.

Let's begin with the shining stars of the production: the Von Trapp children. With a range of vocal abilities and convincing acting, they truly steal the show. Their performances add depth and authenticity, capturing the hearts of the audience with each scene. It's a testament to their talent and dedication that they bring such maturity to their roles.

However, the evening was not without its disturbances. Sound issues proved to be a significant distraction, pulling focus away from the performances on stage. Whether due to unawareness or lack of vocal projection training, some actors struggled to be heard clearly in the expansive space of the National Theatre. This detracted from the overall enjoyment of the production and left much to be desired in terms of clarity and immersion.

In terms of direction, there was nothing particularly special to note. The choreography, while adequate, felt predictable and lacked innovation. When tackling a classic musical like "The Sound of Music," one expects a certain level of creativity and flair, which unfortunately seemed to be lacking in this production.

The staging and design of the production also left something to be desired. The large stage felt overwhelming for the minimal props and set pieces, resulting in vast empty spaces that detracted from the overall aesthetic. This lack of cohesion between the stage size and set design created a disconnect that hindered the immersive experience that theatre strives to achieve.

Another aspect that detracted from the performance was the constant movement of the audience throughout the show. Despite the presence of an intermission, the frequent comings and goings proved to be a significant distraction, disrupting the flow of the production and pulling focus away from the actors on stage. This issue could have been addressed with better audience management or a more effective layout of the theatre space.

Despite these shortcomings, one cannot overlook the commendable performance of the live orchestra. Their skilful rendition of the beloved musical score added depth and emotion to the production, enhancing the overall experience for the audience. The music served as a cohesive thread that tied the scenes together, providing a sense of continuity and emotional resonance that elevated the performance as a whole.

Finally, it's essential to highlight the standout performance of the actor portraying Maria. Her portrayal was nothing short of amazing, capturing the essence of the character with grace, charm, and a captivating stage presence. Her vocal talent and emotional depth brought a sense of authenticity to the role, drawing the audience into her journey and creating moments of genuine connection and resonance.

In conclusion, "The Sound of Music" at the National Theatre in St Kilda presents a mixed bag of delights and disappointments. While the strength of the children's performances and the standout portrayal of Maria shine brightly, issues with sound, staging, and audience management detract from the overall experience. However, with some adjustments and attention to detail, this production has the potential to truly soar and captivate audiences. If you’re looking for a show that would encourage your children creatively, then this would work for that purpose.  

Image Supplied


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