Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Sound of Music (Resorts World Manila)


Sister Maria (Joanna Ampil) does not seem fit to be a nun and is thus sent out of the abbey for a short time to be the governess of an ex-Navy captain’s seven children. Captain George Von Trapp (Jon Joven) is strict and runs his household military style using a whistle with different codes to catch the attention of the person being called. Will Maria’s arrival in the household change the way things are run, or will she find herself going back to the abbey in just a matter of days?

So this is where all those songs came from! There are many of them like My Favorite Things, that song that concerns a female deer and a drop of golden sun, and there is another one with the yodeling, the title of which has just slipped my mind. To tell you the truth, I have not really seen the Julie Andrews version in totality. I just managed to have a peek when it was showing on HBO (or was it Star Movies?) and they were being chased by armed men, which was totally weird because all the while I thought it was all about happy hills, cheerful children, and joyful music. Seeing it onstage for the very first time does send some shivers down the spine, specially with the cast they have assembled to give justice to this particular re-staging.

At last I got to witness the Joanna Ampil at work. Girl is awesome and is such a monster onstage. Perhaps the West End does that to people. She makes yodeling and hitting high notes look as simple as yawning. She resembles Sarah Geronimo in some angles, by the way, which made me question the universe if I would ever see that girl in a musical onstage, the answer to which, perhaps, would be no. Back to Ampil, her second outing as Maria (the first time was as West Side Story’s Maria) is met with enthusiasm from the audience and she carries this show quite well.

Jon Joven, on the other hand, seems confused with his accents. One minute he sounds British, and then American the next.  In fact, the accents puzzle me. Are they not supposed to be Austrians? Then they should be speaking German, but then we would not understand now, would we! Or maybe they should all be speaking like Debraliz as the head maid. Or maybe they are using different accents to distinguish class. Maybe.

The story is cool if you focus on the subject of family. How wonderful would it be to grow up in a household that makes use of music as a tool for bonding! Gone were the days when home was a venue for the honing of a child’s talents, when everything was so simple that entertainment was improvised through innate talents. Nowadays children just play Plant versus Zombies on Facebook.

There really is no main character to be hated for being so vile. Even the baroness is cool although a bit possessive. At least there is no cat-fight between her and Maria while singing at the top of their lungs. That would be so Dreamgirls, and that would be so not 30’s. Issues between the characters are resolved easily without developing into a telenovela. Instead, the plot drags on because of the circumstances surrounding the annexation of Austria by the third Reich, looming danger! In the end, they are all just victims of circumstance so they are left with no choice but to go mountain climbing in the hopes of making it to Switzerland. At least nobody dies. That would be too depressing for the kids.

It would not be surprising if the Newport Theater becomes the venue of choice for future productions. It is very modern and the stage is huge and well-equipped with stage props that help ease the transition between scenes. The LCD background is amusing, although it would have been awesome if real video footage of the Alps was used instead of CGI, which made the setting look a bit tacky. Nevertheless the sets are magnificent, specially that one depicting the Von Trapp family living room. You could live there! So cool.

So then, is this worth your money? You tell me. I have not seen the movie yet so there is no point of comparison, but I enjoyed this one. It made me want to sing along out of nostalgia for songs I used to hear a lot when I was a kid without a single idea as to where they came from. Damn that DoReMi song. I just can’t get it out of my head!

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