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Sunday, November 27, 2016


(Lynelle Kennned as Maria with the von Trapp children)

A production which is fresh, vibrant, and captivating. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Playhouse in Durban is alive with the sound of music!

Arguably the most popular musical of all time, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s glorious, The Sound of Music, opened before a delighted full-house audience at the venue last night, and will run until December 30.

The Playhouse Company assembled a heavyweight creative team to craft a production which is fresh, vibrant, and captivating. And they have succeeded in spades.

Direction is by South African theatre legend Ralph Lawson. Assisting him is Choreographer, Sean Bovim, Costume Designer Sarah Roberts, Set and Lighting Designer Denis Hutchinson, Sound Designer Mark Malherbe, and Musical Director Andrew Warburton. What a team!

The music for the production is provided by the incomparable KZNPO, conducted by the enigmatic Lykele Temmingh. My admiration for this magnificent orchestra is well-documented and on this occasion they did not disappoint. Despite the problems associated with playing in a pit they performed with zest and aplomb which provided a superb backing for the talented cast.

Lawson searched far and wide to put together a very talented cast who have obviously embraced the production and perform with charm, skill and energy. As Maia, Lynelle Kennned puts in a vivacious and entrancing performance. She has a lovely voice and really comes into her own when singing the many memorable songs. My only hesitation is that she maybe appears a little too young for the role.

Craig Urbani as Captain von Trapp is commanding and masterful. He also shows a vulnerability which makes his character very likable.

The role of Mother Abbess is played by Arline Jaftha. Her performance of Climb Every Mountain is without doubt the highlight of the show. What a voice! A soul-stirring performance, which elicited cries of appreciation from the audience.

There are two groups of young performers who play the children on alternative nights. The group we saw displayed talent beyond their years and were all full of beans.

Space does not allow me to mention all the cast members but in my opinion there were no weak performances and one can only say - well done, all!

Special mention must be made of Denis Hutchinson’s set design. There was a series of panels hanging at the back of the stage and backgrounds were projected onto these. So everything from beautiful shots of mountains, forests and stained glass windows in the Abbey were seen in bright colour and sharpness. This gave an interesting filmic feel to the production. 

Having worked in the audio industry for many years I always admire anyone who can skilfully deal with a multi-microphone production such as this without any major problems. So, well done Mark Malherbe and his crew.

This much-loved and timeless classic was first staged 59 years ago and has been revived and restaged on numerous occasions since then. In 1965 it was adapted into a legendary, multi-award winning movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. 

Audiences know and adore this story. They know the plot, they know the characters and can sing all the songs. The bar as far as The Sound of Music productions is concerned has been set pretty high. Well, I would venture to say that this current production raises that bar even higher and will give future producers something to think about.

Durban audiences are going to love this production – so I would suggest that you book your seats soon, or risk losing out.

The Sound of Music runs at The Playhouse Opera until December 30.

Tickets R150, R180, R200 and R225 if pre-booked at Computicket, and R170, R200, R220 and R245 at the door one hour before the show. Students and pensioners receive a discount of 30% off the highest ticket price. Block bookings discounts: 10% discount for 10 to 19 people; 20% discount for 19 to 49 tickets; and 30% discount on 50 or more tickets. To make a block booking, call 031 369 9405 or 031 369 9460. – Keith Millar