Hills Musical Theatre Company: The Sound of Music - Review by Nicole Smith
The Hills District is alive with the sound of music with songs that have been sung for 50 years. Hills Musical Theatre Company bring the Austrian Alps to Winston Hills to help celebrate their half century. These guys are experts at working within the constraints of a hall, turning it into a home for the 3 hour classic tale of the would-be nun who is destined to become a Baroness with 7 children. HillsMTC make use of the space using aisles, the floor and the stage as well as building an abbey office side stage and a large staircase which hides the orchestra (beautifully musically directed by directors Rodrigo Medina Noel and William Pulley).
The concept of the set was well conceived by Directors Rodrigo Medina Noel and William Pulley and their team allowing the stage crew to flip and change flats and along with lighting design to shift the focus. A large staircase formed a backdrop for all of the scene work and for the most part it all moves efficiently, transforming a hall into an Abbey, The Von Trapp Mansion and a concert hall. Keep an eye on the walls during some of the abbey scenes for a beautifully created silhouette as well. I was lucky enough to be close to the front so it wasn't an issue for me but, some of the floor work is missed by the table seating set up which is a shame as the cast were doing wonderful work,
The cast worked together as a beautiful ensemble, but the show belongs to Chloe Obrezza she simply steals the show with a wonderful vocal range and an engaging warmth that lights up the stage every time she is present. Obrezza takes one of the most famous figures in history and while there is a little Julie Andrews in her performance, she is comfortable and confident enough in herself to create her own Maria and own this role.
Angus Trenerry as Captain Von Trapp was unlikeable. Now, I mean this in the best possible way. Initially I was worried he wouldn’t be engaging, but props to Trenerry who was acting his chops off and managed to morph the uptight Captain into a likeable and caring father. Trenerry became a caring father and partner, passionate about his homeland being torn apart and tormented by the decisions he must make to keep his family safe. Trenerry capably managed his vocals with an emotional Edelweiss being a highlight.
While we are on vocals Natalie Davis-Pratt as Mother Abbess had a lot of pressure on her shoulders to deliver Climb Ev’ry Mountain and she brought the house down with thunderous applause. A true goose bump moment. Another musical standout was The Lonely Goatherd. Fans of the movie will remember this as a puppet show but this version is an all in ensemble masterpiece. The music and choreography swelled into a showstopper and not a scrap of space was wasted. This one delighted little faces all through the audience. Big nod to the creative team (Kaitlin Hillier, Bella Lee & Alyssa Naggy).
Erin Pratt led the Von Trapp children of Cast A as Liesel, who does not need a governess but forms a lovely relationship with Maria. All the children’s cast were a delight to watch.
Special mentions to the unlucky in love heiress Baroness von Schraeder (Melanie Sestic), housekeepers Franz (Andrew McBain) and Frau Schmidt (Emma Rose). Costuming was another standout, Medina Noel and his team have pulled together a huge costume plot transporting us into mid century Austria
Great job to Co Directing team Rodrigo Medina Noel and William Pulley, all creatives, behind the scenes helpers and cast. It’s well worth heading west of the city to see the Hills come alive with The Sound of Music!
I give this show 4 out of 5 Flibbertigibbets
Photography by Grant Leslie