The Sound of Music; Footlight Theatre (Review)

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.

One response to “The Sound of Music; Footlight Theatre (Review)

  1. I was one of nuns in the chorus (I went by Liane Berlin) and I have to say I was very proud to be in this Production. (I had a small featured nun part also, Sister Therese).
    It was professionally done and we all knew we were in something special. Our chorus worked long and hard to master our parts (some in Latin) and I was honoured to be amongst all the beautiful voices I heard around me. I practiced my songs on the way to work every day. Michelle, our Musical Director was amazing and patient and kind. She was an inspiration.
    Everyone in this Production took their roles seriously. You saw it everywhere. We were blessed with a wonderful tech crew also.
    Bree and Steve were amazing to watch as the main characters and it was so lovely to listen to their singing. The actors who played the children were so so wonderful and I enjoyed watching them every night. (I was also a server at the big house party so I got to watch the famous children’s “goodbye, farewell” song)
    I loved that we had a real orchestra and i can only imagine the work that went into that. Michael, the musical director made us feel inspired and comforted to see him every night, cueing us and being such a support.
    I want to say how hard our Director Lalaina worked to help get this Production to what it became. She worked tirelessly (although I’m sure it was exhausting work.)
    It was very well received with many standing ovations and we didn’t take that for granted.
    I will always look back on this experience as one of my life’s highlights.
    I would sign up again before you could get out the first few bars of Do Ra Mi. 🎶🎵🎶
    (I apologize for not putting in last names. I would’ve looked them up (as I don’t trust my memory and wanted it to be correct,) but I was concerned about erasing all of this)

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