The Sound of …

Attention! Sound of Music to be played while reading this post

Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow sew
Tea, I drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to do…oh oh oh

Ahhhh, the familiar words from the Austrian alps, creating a sense of happiness and laughter.  Images of boys dressed in lederhosen and girls wearing dresses made out of flower curtains are flashing before my eyes.

My mood is lifted and I feel like running down the street in my apron with outstretched arms while singing (well, screaming) “……THE HILLS ARE ALIVE … TO THE SOUND OF MUSIC …”

There’s no easy way of admitting this, but I actually like Sound of Music. There, I said it!

I have from an early age been forced to participate in the Family von Trapp story.  My mum, who apparently left the monastery only a few weeks before marrying my dad, forced me to see Sound of Music.  It was the best thing since Elvis started to show his moves.

Truth to be said, I was not only forced to see the movie or show once or twice but 8 or 9 times in total.  All this before I had even lived a decade.  Cinema, theater, cinema and musical … Not to forget the cinema again when the movie was re-released for it’s 10th, 15th and 20th anniversary.

It was torture. My mates in school were beating me up for humming “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd … Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo” when playing Indians and cowboys in the forest.

But somehow, the movie has stuck with me throughout my life, and I’ve grown to love it.

As soon as I became a young man, who could afford a video player and later a DVD player, one of the first movies I bought was the Sound of Music.  For some reason, we always watch it around Christmas.  It’s just once of those movies.

jasonSo, when I saw that Sound of Music was coming to Dublin, with Jason Donovan, I had to see it.  Imagine Jason, the pop idol who emerged from the Australian TV show ‘ Neighbors’, while singing a duet with Kylie Minogue.  How awesome would that be?

I wonder if he would sing “Together forever, never apart” to Maria during the show?

We bought the tickets and we all excited.  The kids were in particular excited, as this meant a family outing and going to the theater.  It’s not every day it happens.

It was the matinee show that we were going to see.  Actually, I have not the faintest idea why we just can’t say afternoon show, as it’s really in the afternoon.  Matinee is just used to make it sound more fancy/posh.

Because this was a family day out, we went to the local pizza restaurant before the show started.  It’s always nice to make the days or activities special, and the kids love Italian food – and so do I.  Too bad I couldn’t drink some wine, but I had to be fully focused when seeing Jason Donovan as Captain von Trapp.

Once the food had been digested and we had visited the toilet several times, we walked across the yard to get to the newly build Grand Canal Theater.  I have to admit, it is a very nice theater; not too big and not too small either.

The lobby was full of people, anxious to see the show.  In the corner was the souvenir shop, where you could buy T-shirts, mugs, posters and the soundtrack.  Great that a movie can make such an impact on people that you desperately need to have a mug with Maria running down the green slopes.  Well, I bought one!

Just as we entered the building our son got a bit too excited and peed his pants.  Great!  Not exactly the start of the show we had anticipated.  Nevertheless, we quickly changed him and headed for our seats.

The excitement was building.  Suddenly the theater fell dark, and the familiar tingly sounds from the movie started.  And there she was.  Maria (well the actress who played Maria of course) was sitting in on what was meant to look like the hills of Salzburg but resembled the Great Wall of China instead.

The music started to roar and she stood up.  I was anticipating an emotional introduction to the musical, and a lump was building in my throat.  It was difficult to contain my eagerness to join in, stand up, spread my arms and run down the aisle while singing “THE HILLS ARE ALIVE, WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC” with Maria.

However, the much-anticipated introduction was somewhat a letdown.  It was a flat, quiet and emotionless attempt at singing the best musical introduction in history.

Ah well, I’m sure she was just a bit stage shy, despite this being the 17th show she had done in Dublin Grand Canal Theater.

The first act of the musical lasted about 80 minutes, and most of the songs were less impressive than I had hoped for.  The kids and Maria were very good at singing various songs, but it all seemed a bit deflated.

Then the big moment.  Captain von Trapp emerged on the stage.  I was tense in my seat once again.  I was seeing a pop idol on the stage.  A huge name in my young days.  This was history in the making.

…and then he said his line!  WTF!  He sounded like a robocop version of the Captain.  He was trying way too hard to remove his Australian accent and place a posher British / German accent, obviously hoping it would sound like an authentic Austrian naval Captain … but no!

Even the songs he sang were poor and his actions throughout the show weren’t great.  Not too sure if my expectations were too high, but I just didn’t believe he’s acting.

In fairness, when he sang the famous Edelweiss song, it was brilliant.  He was relaxed and not focused on his accent.  It was Jason Donovan singing the song.  That’s what I was expecting.  No, it wasn’t good enough for me to cry when singing “Edelweiss, Edelweiss…”, but it was still a good performance.

The show was alright, but the movie is still better.  I’ve seen much better musical performances of the Sound of Music.  However, we still had a great day out, the kids loved the experience and we got time to laugh too.

Afterward, just as the show had finished, we slowly moved into the lobby.  Suddenly someone tapped my shoulder, and it was the missus.  She clearly wanted to say something.  She looked me in the eyes and burst out “I’ve got to go to the bathroom”.  The funny bit was, she almost sang the sentence to the tune of “My favorite things“.

On the way home in the car, we were all singing the songs.  Not that we know the lyrics, but it was a real sing-along in the car.  Kids were laughing while I was trying to keep it serious – after all, Sound of Music is a classic and based on true historical events.  We have to sing the songs right.

The next 20 minutes were spent singing to each other, instead of talking.

lodgeStill can’t get my head around the fact that the von Trapp family sang their way out of Austria back in 1938/39.  What’s even weirder, the von Trapp family settled in the US and established a giant hotel somewhere.  You can visit it see all the footage from their lives and sing-along to all your favorite songs … or you can just buy the soundtrack.

Just to be clear.  There’s only one Maria and one Captain von Trapp; Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.  Everybody else is just imitations of legends.

Jason Donovan is not cut out for the cruel world of musicals.  He needs to stick to what he’s good at.  I’m sure he can think of something other than acting and singing.

Would I see Sound of Music, as a musical, again?  Absolutely.


  1. Ehh, Audrey Hepburn???? Whatever happened to JULIE ANDREWS??!!!
    And if I wanted to be really pedantic, I would point out that the tonic solfa is used in the song… not just the intonations, which was the whole point of teaching the children the scale of ‘C major!

  2. I love The Sound of Music. I remember I used to watch the cartooned version of this. I just love how the story is so easy, sweet and simple. Glad that you enjoyed your family day bonding. And you have a soul here that is soooo envy.

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