‘The Clock Song’ is fun for the cast of the Chemainus Theatre’s ‘The Sound of Music’. (Lexi Bainas photo)

‘The Clock Song’ is fun for the cast of the Chemainus Theatre’s ‘The Sound of Music’. (Lexi Bainas photo)

Sound of Music echoes with a surprising amount of cool

Chemainus Theatre review: my teenage self didn’t know what he was missing

Gerry Beltgens Special to the Chronicle

I was 14 when the “Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews first took the world by storm.

Of course, I was far too cool to be seen watching that movie.

Over the years I heard almost every song many times but never saw the film. On Feb. 15, my daughter Sabrina and I attended the opening night of “Sound of Music” at the Chemainus Theatre and I enjoyed it so much that I now question some of my other teenage decisions.

The quality of the production and talent was very good and thoroughly entertaining. We smiled most of the time, laughed often and we were honestly moved by the heartfelt effort and passion of the cast.

Julia Ullrich as Maria Rainer is entirely believable, first as novitiate nun with too much energy, struggling with life in the abby and later as the governess for the Von Trapp family. It is initially hard to forget Julie Andrew’s voice when Ullrich starts to sing, but her voice has its own strength and richness that suits her version of the character well.

The rest of the show’s cast alterated between playing in the small orchestra and playing their characters. The juxtapositions were often quite comical but never detracted from the show.

The Von Trapp children were excellent, funny cute and talented. The harmonies with Maria/Julia were lovely and the chemistry between them seemed real.

Another outstanding performance came from Melissa Morris, who played the Abbess. Her voice was strong, mature and assured. As Sabrina commented, “What a set of pipes!”

All in all the cast was talented and professional and it was clear that they had rehearsed hard to put on such a high quality opening night.

For me the only really jarring note was the Nazi salutes and symbolism in the second half. It is integral to the story but it reignited memories of stories told my parents who survived Nazi occupation in Holland. The theme of having to deal with fascist neighbours hit a little too close to home.

Sabrina and I were very lucky to get a sitting in the dining room before the show. The house was full, the food and service excellent.

The chef produced a menu that matched themes of the evening. I had the locally grown pork schnitzel and Sabrina chose the Atlantic pan-seared scallops. We paired the meals with a Desert Hills cactus white and Avrill Creek’s pinot gris. Along with the seafood chowder, the salad and dessert bar, we started the show satisfied and happy.

I give this production of the Sound of Music a strong recommendation.

Don’t be too cool and miss out on this wonderful family entertainment that is happening in our backyard.

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