Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The thing I always loved most about the Sound of Music was Dick Van Dike...he was a genius. The quintessential children’s comedy clown, Van Dike was the genuine article.
So it was with trepidation that I trotted along to the Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre to catch the latest Westend production. Jason Donovan...hmm i thought as I collected my tickets in the box office and headed for a quick glass of vino in the bar.
It did not take me long before I realised that this was not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or indeed Mary Poppins, and that, of course, Van Dike was in fact Christopher Plummer playing an unyielding Austrian patriot. But still Jason Donovan!!!
The story of the von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi occupation was made famous by the movie staring Julie Andrews and ahem Plummer, however the show actually debuted on stage.
Of course I’ve seen the movie many times and my memory quickly comes back to me. As Maria, Verity Rushworth, is stunning. From the outset, helped in no small part by a chorus of singing nuns she owns the stage.
Familiar songs such as Climb Every Mountain, I am Sixteen and Do a Deer and are well received. But as suspected the one bum note on the night is Mr Donovan. He simply does not have the vocal range for the part. The part of Mr von Trapp is that of a wooden Austrian but Donovan takes the wooden to the extreme.
To their credit the children temper Donovan’s failings and in the grand scale of the musical it is still worth the price of the tickets.
The overall theme of the Sound of Music is a depressing one as the von Trapp family flee from Nazi occupation and i for one left the Grand Canal Theatre a little more depressed than when entering.

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