The Arts Club Theatre and Disability Alliance BC teamed up to provide audiences with diverse needs or sensory disabilities a special performance of Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic The Sound of Music. The special relaxed performance includes standing stations, a relaxation booth to aid for any stimuli. House doors are left open and house lights remained on for the entire performance. The theatre was also intentionally left to half capacity so people can freely move around, if needed.
The Sound of Music has been around for decades and the longevity of this musical is not to question about. It has remained a family favourite, albeit its pretty dark background, sugar coated by the catchy and classic songs that never lost its popularity. While the darker elements are not hidden, I found it is a very good opportunity for discussion, especially when my kid started asking questions about the “army lieutenant’s meanness”. It did not filter the offensive images and it made for a good education opportunity. It’s been decades since I last saw The Sound of Music on stage and I am so grateful that this production exists. It truly reminded me why this musical is such a classic. It not only successfully held my son’s attention the entire two and a half hours, it also opened up for conversation and interest in the art form. I have to say, I will pat myself on my own back for choosing the right show to introduce him to theatre.
Performance wise, it is ten stars all around. Congratulations to the Arts Club for staging yet another quality production and assembling a very talented cast to provide top-notch theatre in BC. The set utilised the stage well, and the performers were at their best, even with the potential distractions that came with that specific performance (side note: I talked to one of the staff during intermission and she said that that evening’s audience were amazingly more quiet and engaged than the earlier matinee’s crowd). Special shout outs to the leads, Chelsea Rose who plays Maria, Damien Atkins who plays Captain Von Trapp, and the kids playing the Von Trapp children. Orchestrations are without question quite the experience as it captured the score to its fullest – and that’s quite a feat for a seven-piece orchestra. It was truly a treat for my child to be able to experience this musical and the performances they gave along with the spectacular support from the secondary characters and ensemble truly made for a memorable evening, and I’m sure all the other families will share my sentiments.
This type of accessibility and inclusivity makes for a very welcome gesture towards not only for people it is geared towards, it also gives a chance for families and friends to be able to spend a night of entertainment without the worry of judgement or adhering to the “norms” of everyday living, so thank you, Arts Club Theatre Company for continuing to be an ally and advocate.
Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music continues to play at the Stanley Theatre until December 24.