Festival Theatre, Fri 17 Jul
The Festival Theatre was overflowing with nuns, Marias, Gretas, Baronesses, brown paper packages tied up with strings, girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes and there was even a small gazebo in the stalls. It could only mean one thing: Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music.
Encouraged by Adelaide’s own German superstar Hans to hiss at the Baroness, woof at the traitorous Rolf, boo at the Nazis, and of course cheer loudly for Maria, the audience was in its happy place.
The singing (with lyrics provided via subtitles for those people who haven’t memorised the entire film) is only part of the experience. Clearly many of the audience members, who ranged in age from around 4 to about 104, had seen the film often enough to quote entire passages as well as sing all the songs. This loud, proud and raucous romp through one of Hollywood’s greatest moments is not for those who like ‘shush’ in their movie experience.
Provided with show bags (‘no expense spared’, said Hans) containing props, the audience had even more opportunity to get involved. When the Captain sings Edelweiss we all waved our sprigs of white flowers slowly above our heads. When the ball was in full swing we proudly held our gold-printed invitations high. When Maria was struck with the idea to make the children play clothes from her old curtains we cheered and held up our swatches of fabric. But best of all (spoiler alert for the two people in the world who haven’t seen the movie) when the Captain and Maria kiss in the gazebo we jubilantly popped our party poppers!
I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a room filled with so much exuberance and pure joy. And I’ve certainly never seen such a rowdy, into-it crowd at the Festival Theatre before. Perhaps we should invite world leaders to a Sound Of Music sing-a-long prior to negotiating world peace? Such is the sheer delight of this enormously fun production.