The Sound of Music (Marina Bay Sands)
Review by Gavin Low

I remember learning songs like ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Edelweiss’ during music lessons in primary school, and one day, our music teacher told us to catch the film version of The Sound of Music on TV. That was how I was introduced to Maria, played by Dame Julie Andrews, and the Von Trapp family. I remembered it being quite a magical moment when the Von Trapp children burst into songs like ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘My Favourite Things’.

It was then with trepidation and anticipation that I watched the stage version of The Sound of Music, currently showing at the MBS Mastercard Theatre. I know that the stage version is quite different from the beloved film that we have all grown so fond of. Gladly, I have a great time, and even break into childish excitement when Maria and the Von Trapp children break into my childhood songs.

The musical also incorporated songs specially written for the 1965 film, ‘I Have Confidence’ and ‘Something Good’ into this version.

For those of you who do not already know what The Sound of Music is about, it tells the true story of Maria, the fun-loving, music-loving governess who changed the lives of the widowed Captain Von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music, culminating in the family’s flight across the Austrian mountains.

Despite some rather traditional staging, overall, the cast did a good job in bringing this rather massive musical to live. Maria, played by South African Bethany Dickson, will not make you forget Julie Andrews, but her sweet clear voice and energy does provide enough charm to win you over. Andre Schwartz as Captain Von Trapp does come across rather wooden in his acting, but he acquits himself with good singing. However, the Carmen Pretorius makes a good Liesl, the eldest child of the Von Trapp family, and her duet with Rolf (Rhys Hewitt Williams) ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ brings about the right flavor of young love.

The highlight for me is the Von Trapp children, played largely by eighteen children selected by auditions in Singapore. The energy they brought makes the show come alive every time they are on stage. Janelle Visagie, who has the most classically voice in the cast, brings the house down with her rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’.

The romance between Maria and Captain Von Trapp feels rather rushed and underdeveloped compared to the film. However, what I really like about the stage version is that the threat of the Nazi’s invasion is always looming in the background. The song, ‘No Way To Stop It’ (cut from the film) highlights the differing attitudes towards the Nazi’s between Captain Von Trapp, who is against it, and the Baroness Schraeder and their friend, Max, who is quite willing to stand on the Nazi’s side to survive. This builds up nicely to the inevitable ending of the Von Trapp family running away the Nazi’s and hiding in the Abbey. Of course, that made the musical less of a children musical compared to the film version, and the children in the audience got very fidgety and bored during these ‘serious’ scenes.

Overall, The Sound of Music does not disappoint. Do catch it before it closes on 10 August 2014!

Tickets available from SISTIC.


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