THE SOUND OF MUSIC - LIVE! is a comparative rarity on television these days - a revival recorded in an East London studio but broadcast as live, as if performed in a theater. It recalled those halcyon days in the Seventies and Eighties when both ITV and the BBC videotaped productions originally designed for the West End, Stratford-on-Avon and the Chichester Festival Theatre. Coky Giedroyc and Richard Valentine's production was a straightforward one, emphasizing the choreography but using the camera to tell the story, as if it were an actor on the stage. Hence this was not a "flat" filming, with the camera confined by the proscenium, but a three-dimensional filming, making use of plenty of close-ups and panning shots. It used televisual techniques to emphasize the emotion of the piece on several occasions. Although well-known to most viewers, both in its stage and film versions, THE SOUND OF MUSIC still has the capacity to stir the emotions. This is chiefly due to a strong book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, which does not shy away from the sinister political overtones of the story. The songs might be saccharine in places, but the plot certainly isn't. Giedroyc and Valentine's production brought out the gradual change of character wrought in Captain Georg von Trapp (Julian Ovenden), as he discovered the effect that Maria had on his children. His pliability contrasted with Maria (Kara Tointon), a strong-willed personality who knew that what she was doing was right, even if Von Trapp disagreed with it. Set against this couple was the oleaginous Max (Alexander Armstrong) a slimy character if ever there was one, who willingly accepted the dictates of Nazism without understanding their basically evil purposes. The singing was, on the whole, extremely good, while the orchestrations (by Michael England) were both lush yet melodic. Critics described THE SOUND OF MUSIC - LIVE! as an example of "event" television, designed to lure jaded viewers away from online service providers and back to terrestrial channels. If this was the purpose, then I can only say that it was admirably fulfilled. I sincerely hope that ITV repeats the experiment.
The Sound of Music Live
The Sound of Music Live
An apprentice nun tasked with caring for the children of a retired naval officer finds herself falling in love with him as the Nazi invasion of Austria looms on the horizon.
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August 13, 2019