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March 11, 2014

Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre is alive with the Sound of Music

The classical musical, Sound of Music,starring Bethany Dickson as Maria, runs at Cape Town's Artscape Theatre until Sunday 30 March, 2014. 

“The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music…”

Yes, it’s true, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of the impressive musical, is now running at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town and its boards, if not our hills, are indeed alive with the Sound of Music!

Starring Fleur du Cap Theatre award nominee Bethany Dickson (Sunset Boulevard and Carousel), as the beloved lead Maria (a role made famous by Dame Julie Andrews in the 1965 film); popular local singer and Naledi award winner Andre Schwartz as Captain Von Trapp; Carmen Pretorius (High School Musical on Stage and Mamma Mia!) as Liesl Von Trapp; Janelle Visagie (Madama Butterfly and Show Boat) as the Mother Abbess and a talented ensemble cast, this show, presented by Pieter Toerien and the Theatre on the Bay, is a theatrical must-see.

Perhaps the biggest musical to grace the Mother City’s theatre-loving shores this season since the wildly acclaimed Rocky Horror Show, this local production of the Sound of Music is entertaining fun for the whole family.

If you’re a fan of the Andrews movie, there will be a few scenes you’ll miss but don’t let that stop you from immersing yourself in this live re-enactment. The set design by Robert Jones, with its slick changes, is jaw-droppingly realistic - particularly the renowned Maria-twirling-around-on-the-hill scene; the Von Trapp mansion which is now my dream home (that chandelier!) and the Abbey is just heavenly to look at.

All of the beloved and well known songs, written by Rodger and Hammerstein for the original musical in 1959, are performed by the immensely talented all South African cast, including The Sound of Music, Maria, My Favourite Things, I Have Confidence, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, The Lonely Goatherd, How Can Love Survive, Ländler, So Long, Farewell, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, No Way to Stop It, Something Good and Edelweiss.

Janelle Visagie as the Mother Abbess will leave you in tears with her incredible performance.

The adult leads are great on stage: Dickson encompasses many of Andrews’ nuances into her Maria, while still making you fall in love with her and there is no equal for Visagie’s impressive voice (her rendition of Climb Ev’ry Mountain will leave you in tears).  Pretorius too is utterly enchanting as the teenage daughter experiencing her first crush and learning to love her new au pair/stepmother. Schwartz fills out the Captain’s uniform quite nicely but lacks the necessary chemistry with Dickson, so evident between Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the cinematic version, to make you swoon at their unfolding love story.

Bethany Dickson, Bethany Dickson as Maria, Andre Schwartz as Captain Von Trapp and Carmen Pretorius as Liesl Von Trapp with the talented child actors who steal the show as the Von Trapp children.

It’s the child actors playing the Von Trapp children who are indeed worth watching. With a revolving cast of 18 kids playing Maria’s six younger charges, keeping them all on cue must still be a challenge for resident children’s director Duane Alexander and yet, their performances, especially of So Long, Farewell will certainly tug at your heartstrings. They are definitely a few of my favourite things!

We theatre critics are a difficult bunch to please and many have written that the omission of certain scenes detracts from the magic of the show, but ultimately, the Sound of Music is still a true, feel good story and this local production is worth seeing.

The Sound of Music runs at the Artscape Theatre until Sunday 30 March, 2014. Tickets are R 125 to R 425 (with discounts for senior citizens, students and group bookings) and are available at Computicket.  For more information, please visit  www.theatreonthebay.co.za

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