Review: Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music
They came in droves. Dressed in costumes, theatre attendees of all ages/sizes excitedly flooding the State Theatre to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Sound of Music with a sing-a-long. It was a beautiful sight, a visual stimulation of colour and sound, a definite contrast to the greys and blacks of city life.
I was wearing a dress (I rarely wear dresses) but I felt a tad underdressed upon entering the lavish State Theatre and not appearing like I was auditioning for a role of extra in The Sound of Music.
With nervous anticipation of the night ahead, I did not know what to expect until the words, ‘interactive theatre’ came to mind. Marketed as fun, friendly and interactive, I coyly entertained the idea of having fun and interacting with the film after much needed the encouragement from those around me.
As a person who prefers dark quiet spaces, I felt like a deer caught in headlights, or stage lights if you want to get technical, and I had a conversation along the lines of:
‘I don’t sing in public.’
‘No one can hear you.’
The night started off with a costume competition, hosted by a lady dressed as Maria von Trapp with an impressive and slightly intimidating vocal range, in which I found myself wading through a sea of nuns including a bearded nun who walked past me and accidently flashed me his silky red boxers as he ran up on stage: definitely an eye-opening experience.
According to a conversation I overheard between two women sitting near me, one of them had attended this event every year since it began. For her you could say that it was tradition. Religious even. She even asked me to take a photo later on during the night. (Side note: taking photos of a stranger in costume who looks like pretty much everyone else in costume is really hard).
The host encouraged us to sing along, teaching us how to use our interactive fun packs filled with items to hold up or things to do during particular parts of the movie. It was like an interactive theatre version of Just Dance with many steps to remember and occasionally I’d worry that I would miss something or show my lack of coordination. Not that anyone was watching.
Their eyes were fixated on stage as the film flickered through a sequence of images of the Austrian mountains projected on the theatre’s screen. The crowd quickly grew silent after a few, ‘Shhhh! Quiet! The film’s starting!’ as we waited in eager anticipation for the money shot: Julia Andrews spinning around high on a mountain.
It was definitely an exciting part of everyone’s night. More than just a film screening, the night was an experience driven by the type of audience you happen to be in or experience the film with. Although I have seen The Sound of Music many times on DVD I never noticed certain peculiarities which the crowd pointed out.
Firstly, Maria is an independent woman and slight feminist especially when she stands up to Captain Von Trapp on things she does not agree on. Secondly, Max, the Von Trapp family friend, loves money (he actually says this), and thirdly, Captain Vonn Trapp’s (Christopher Plummer) eyes are dreamy. I may have developed a little crush on him during the night.
The crowd was encouraged to hiss whenever the baroness came on screen and encourage the romance between Maria and the Captain. In the film when Maria was walking down the aisle there was a woman dressed in a wedding dress walking down the aisle of the theatre which made it seem like I was attending the Von Trapp wedding. It was definitely a surreal experience.
The film played showing song lyrics on screen and I would occasionally join in and sing along, waving my plastic edelweiss prop along with the thousands that attended.
Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable night, despite the anxiety of having to sing and interact with those around me. Best of all, I got to bring home a goody bag filled with some pretty amazing memories and new insight and appreciation towards The Sound of Music, inspiring me to create some play clothes using the curtains I have at home.
Find out more about Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music on Facebook.
Words by Addy Fong.