Sunday 17 December 2017

Any sound of cynicism is banished by my favourite things



IT'S difficult now to envisage Jason Donovan as a teen idol, but he certainly makes a perfectly stiff-upper-lip Captain Georg von Trapp in the perennially popular The Sound of Music, playing in The Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin until next Saturday, April 30.

The place has been packed to the rafters for the last few weeks for this very slick London production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic including Maria, My Favourite Thing, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, So Long, Farewell, Edelweiss and ending with Climb Ev'ry Mountain -- when the audience last Monday rose for a spontaneous standing ovation.

While it could have been seen as corny in parts, the Dublin audience lapped up this mixture of semi-religious sentiment because it was The Sound of Music. There wasn't a cynical thought in the house for the entire evening.

Although Jason Donovan (who we all know began his career with Kylie Minogue) was the star name, he played his role with understated authority, while Philippa Buxton played a gushing, flighty Maria, the nun sent from the convent to mind the regimental Von Trapp children.

Martin Callaghan got the laughs as the roguish impresario Max who signs up the children for the Salzburg concert that leads to their escape from the Nazis.

The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II is based on a book by the real Maria Von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, and was first performed on Broadway in 1959. It subsequently became the Academy Award-winning film The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer which came out in 1965, and it's been happily playing to theatre and cinema audiences ever since.

This production directed by Jeremy Sams is a real crowd-pleaser for everyone. With a cast of nuns, children and orchestra, it is a seamless evening of favourite things. The Grand Canal Theatre is eminently suitable for this modern production and the entire house was enthralled by the performances. It just goes to show you can't beat an old favourite.

Sunday Independent

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