The joyful echoes of “Doe a deer …” will ring around your head for days

Lauren Eade as Maria and Dale Selsby as Mother Abbess.

Lauren Eade as Maria and Dale Selsby as Mother Abbess.

  • The Sound of Music – Bankstown Theatre Company
  • Director: Glenda Kenyon; Musical Director: Ian Buchanan

The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’ and Christopher Plummer’s most beloved musical has arrived at the Bryan Brown Theatre. 

Wait, shouldn’t that be Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s Sound of Music

So you would think, however, so ingrained are the portrayals of Maria and Captain Von Trapp by Andrews and Plummer that any production since that movie has to deal with many expectations: how the cast should look, act and sound.

But how do you meet expectations when casting requires strong, lyrical voices and chemistry between the players?

Enter Lauren Eade as Maria and Penshurst’s Peter Sahlani as Captain Von Trapp.

With eyes open you may see Eade but close them and you’ll hear Julie Andrews. Eade’s stage presence charms throughout the three-hour production.

Daniel Rae of Alford’s Point’s portraying Rolf with Courtney Emmas who play Liesl.

Daniel Rae of Alford’s Point’s portraying Rolf with Courtney Emmas who play Liesl.

A Judges and People’s Choice winner at this year’s Short and Sweet festival, Sahlani plays his emotions on his sleeve as father, patriot and love-interest while his voice is a nice complement to Eade’s.

Dale Selsby encapsulates the Mother Abbess – her still authority and her compassion. Her characterisation is flawless.

Daniel Rae of Alford’s Point’s voice is powerful as it’s unexpected. Portraying Rolf, his deep resonance couldn’t be showcased more but its impact was lasting.

Several other St George and Sutherland Shire locals have taken roles as Von Trapp children including: Annie Henderson (Engadine), memorable as Louisa on opening night; Blake O’Mara (Bangor) as Kurt; Phillip Plunkett (Kingsgrove) as Franz; and Jamie Kalimtzis (Peakhurst), who also plays Louisa.

In a production that translates the iconic scenes from the movie onto the stage the children’s delightful choreography will cuckoo childhood memories from the cobwebs. The children shine.

There are a few surprises for those who haven’t seen the stage show before. Did you know that the Baroness and Uncle Max sing? Generally, the production pays homage to the movie from the characterisation of the nuns to the look of the final scene in the abbey garden. It’s an ambitious production.

Peter Sahlani as Captain Von Trapp and Lauren Eade as Maria with the Von Trapp children.

Peter Sahlani as Captain Von Trapp and Lauren Eade as Maria with the Von Trapp children.

The Bryan Brown theatre is a comfortably air-conditioned, modern facility with ample underground parking in the heart of Bankstown.

The stage sports a wide apron of seating that keeps the audience close. However, the stage itself isn’t deep. The staging and cast size of this production exceed the limitations of that depth. The operatic scope of the set would have probably been easier realised on a bigger stage. The company does an admirable job dealing with the limitations.

Fans of the movie will find much to enjoy in this family classic. I challenge anyone to see it and not have joyful echoes of “Doe a deer …” ringing around their heads for days afterwards.

Matinees and evenings showing at the Bryan Brown Theatre, Cnr Rickard Rd and Chapel St, Bankstown until Sunday August 5.

Tickets are available online or by phone: 0481 869 858.