Sunday, June 26, 2011

Belated but better late than never

21 June 2011 – A friend and I attended “The Sound of Music” held in the KL Convention Centre. Here is my take on the performance :

Actors/Actresses (based on characters) :

Maria : The leading actress did a good job. It was a breath of fresh air to hear her singing the well-known songs that we all seem to know. She was convincing as Maria, a young lady who is finding her way in the convent and was asked to be a governess to 7 children. Her rapport with the 7 children was good. I enjoyed her voice. I enjoyed her seeming lack of confidence with her heart when she realized she was in love.

Captain Von Trapp : Christopher Plummer spoilt it for me. I cannot imagine a Capt VT who is any less severe and serious than Plummer’s version. Not that he did a lousy job. He actually did a good job. I enjoyed his singing, and I thought he looked handsome. But I just could not help thinking that his character lacks the oomph.

Elsa : She was beautiful and sang well. She looked a lot more pleasant than the character in the movie. Unfortunately I feel that her character was underdeveloped.

Max : Max is the family friend of the Von Trapps and Elsa. I do not particularly care for his acting and singing. I don’t know if it is the accent he was trying to fake or his voice that is almost growling. It was not very clear, especially during the first scene he appeared in. It got better along the way.

The children : I cannot have one commentary for every child. But I think the children did a great job overall. I still marvel at how a little child like Gretl (the actress, I mean) was taught and trained to perform in a musical that lasts 3 hours. Their acting and singing were wonderful. I do think, though, that Liesl is a little miscast. Perhaps it has to do with her being very tall and she looked a little gawky. But her singing was good. Everyone was generally good and did a marvelous job.

The stage / props :

The main backdrop is a very high, about 3 storey high backdrop which is used to depict the convent as well as the Von Trapps’ house. I like the fact that they were able to multi-use the backdrop, although at times it looked awkward.

As the convent or abbey, the focus was on the lowest level where the nuns would sing and chant, partially covered. The tree outside worked well as a place Maria would ‘hang out’. The elaborate staircase was used to run up to upper levels of the abbey when the nuns when looking for Maria.

As the Von Trapps’ house, the backdrop worked well as a 3 storey house. The ground level is where they changed the stage into a lounge area, Maria’s room, as well as outside the house. It was a little awkward that the tree was not moved as it was still there when it’s supposed to be inside the house, or even inside the abbey. The staircase was used as the main route to the upstairs rooms, etc.

The stage is actually not very big, hence, the problem of moving things about. I mean, compared to PGL which was held at Istana Budaya, this musical seems to be a little stagnant in terms of movement of props and even the cast members. The stage, though not wide, is very high. So the crew made full use of the height by constructing the 3-storey backdrop. Since they could not move much to the left and right, they moved UP.

The crew members who moved things about, I felt, was a little careless. There was quite a fair amount of noise when they dragged in some of the props in the dark. This could have been minimized with some oiling of the things, especially the heavier ones. That distracted the audience a fair bit.

For this opportunity to attend the opening night of the musical, I thank my dear friend, Rozida. Your misfortune became a blessing and a gift for me.

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