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Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘Sound of Music’ by Base Entertainment

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Base Entertainment presents the Sound of Music musical, which will run from 11th July to 10th August 2014, at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre.


Sound of Music was first a musical in 1959. The movie version came in 1965 and went on to win 5 Oscars. Hence inevitably people tend to compare the 2 versions. This particular production though follows the structure of the original Sound of Music musical, and not the film.

Having said that, the storyline here is the same as the movie, albeit with one major surprising twist. Sound of Music tells the tale of Maria (Bethany Dickson), a nun, who’s given a job of being a temporary nanny to a widowed Captain Von Trapp (Andre Schwartz) and his seven children whom he has raised with ridiculously strict rules. Maria though finds these rules inappropriate and, with the use of music and songs, she endears herself to the children – and also to the Captain. However, the Captain is already smitten with some other lady.

If you come from an English speaking background and were brought up with American and British music and movies, then chances are your parents exposed you to the film version of Sound of Music when you were just a little tyke. So whether you’ve rewatched the movie recently or not, all the songs from this musical will hit you with a nostalgic note and fill your heart with fond memories of a simpler time of childhood.

Also, even though the musical rearranges the order of the songs a bit as compared to in the movie, the songs are still just as catchy, melodious, and lyrically apt as you would remember it to be. The performers all sing very well, even Dickson who plays the main lead role made popular by Julie Andrews. Not only does Dickson’s “Maria” look like Andrews with the short blonde hair, she does her best to sound as polished as Andrews does, and manages a near-perfect job.

However, it is Janelle Visagie who plays the Mother Superior who blows the audience away with her powerful vocals as she hits the high notes with beautiful strength and accurate pitch in “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”.  Visagie easily overshadows Dickson in their duet together.

The sets and costumes are a sight to behold as performers come on stage in luxurious gowns and jewels in a party scene, and the set changes seamlessly from the mountainside complete with grass and a skyline, to an abbey designed in baroque style, to the opulent Von Trapp mansion overseeing the lake.

The only unfortunate thing is that if you’ve only seen the movie version, you’d be expecting someone comparable to the tall and elegant Christopher Plummer in the Captain’s role, and Schwartz doesn’t quite compare to Plummer’s style and the exquisite way in which the Oscar winner carries himself.

Having said that, Sound of Music is highly enjoyable and its story, songs and scope will entice you to “Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow, Till you find your dream” – because sometimes childhood songs remind us of what we tend to forget as adults.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.