For a show about the rise of Nazism and the pre-World War II German annexation and occupation of Austria, the characters in The Sound of Music are oddly almost always in good spirits. With such an eminently hummable score, it’s not hard to see why.
The cast of Footlight Theatre's The Sound of Music. Photo by Paul H. Wright.
While Footlight’s production of Joseph last year was exceedingly average, director and choreographer Lalainia Lindbjerg Strelau has surpassed expectations with The Sound of Music. Lindbjerg Strelau has successfully marshaled an extremely large amateur cast into a strong cohesive production of this family classic. Of course some of that credit must go to Rodgers and Hammerstein for crafting such a feel-good show.
Bree Greig’s voice is nearly flawless and she has the youthful and earnest young governess routine down pat. Greig is a very likable Maria and will likely become an even more familiar face to local audiences in short order.
Steve Maddock is commanding and stern, as Captain von Trapp ought to be, though the role itself is somewhat of a bore and leaves him little room to maneuver. On the few occasions where Maddock is allowed to sing, it left me wishing for more.
Chris Sinosich’s costuming was full of detail as usual and her job couldn’t have been easy given the large cast.
That’s not to say that the show was perfect. There were several issues that stood out. The show is fairly long (on the short side of three hours) and the many scene changes took far too long to complete and constantly interrupted the flow of the onstage action.
There also should have been more of a buildup to the Nazi threat. The actors on stage never seem to be overly concerned with the looming Nazi occupation and so the dramatic unfurling of swastikas over the audience in the Salzburg festival scene is too much, too quickly.
The lighting problems were very noticeable and by no fault of the musicians themselves, the miking of the small orchestra gave it an overly canned feel. Some of the music played during the monotonous scene changes ended up sounding like tinny Muzak.
But in the grand scheme of things, these seem like small quibbles; Footlight’s The Sound of Music is a bona fide home-grown success.
The Sound of Music, presented by Footlight Theatre Company, runs until November 20, 2010, at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave, Burnaby. Tickets are available online or by phone at 604-684-2787.