Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: ITV's The Sound Of Music Live

Written by Ernest Lehman
Directed by Coky Giedroyc

The hills are alive with the sound of music.

And instead of bothering to air Jekyll & Hyde yet again, ITV decided to air something a little more ambitious last night with their version of this particular musical in front of a live audience for the course of two and a half hours.

In recent times, this live musical theatre television has become a trend on American television with the likes of this one, Peter Pan and recently The Wiz all going down to varying degrees with audiences and generating much social media commentary and in that regard, ITV's first attempt actually captured that trend pretty well too.

The casting was fine enough form with former EastEnders actress Kara Tointon taking on the role of everyone's favourite singing nun/governess Maria Von Trapp while Downton Abbey's Julian Overden played the role of Captain Georg Von Trapp, Coronation Street's Katherine Kelly as the Baroness Schrader, Pointless Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweile as well as Maria Friedman as as the Mother Abbess and Mel Giedroyc playing housekeeper Frau Schmidt to name a few.

With over two hours at this performance's disposal, there was plenty that could've gone with this production but for the most part, I think things went smoothly enough. It helped that the majority of the cast could carry a tune and had enough familiarity to draw in casual viewers but even with some editing choices of the source material, the moments that essentially matters to the iconic musical were retained and nicely realised onscreen.

The star of the show and deservedly so was Kara Tointon. It's hard to take on a role so iconic as Maria and given the inevitable comparisons that were going to made to Julie Andrews, I really do think that Tointon truly excelled throughout the entire production. After this, I definitely think there are going to be some bigger roles in her near future.

As for ITV, this could've been an absolute shambles but it really worked out a lot better than expected. Doing some editing for time probably worked in it's favour, the stage looked well, the numbers worked well and considering the discussion this generated last night, I have a feeling that The Sound Of Music Live has kickstarted a future trend for the station.

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