The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music DVD Review

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music is out on DVD, and is available now. It tells the story of the Von Trapp family, who I’m sure most people are familiar with thanks to The Sound of Music.

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music DVD Cover

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music tells the story of the Von Trapp Family. This time it is from the perspective of eldest daughter Agathe.

You live your life, and your stepmother writes a book about it. The book becomes a film in Germany, which in turn leads to a Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Oh and it’s the most successful musical of all time. The only problem is, you feel like the actual story everyone knows isn’t your story. You feel like your father is a different person. Any problems you had with your stepmother were completely washed over.

You’re not happy.

Agathe Von Trapp, whose life story became The Sound of Music, wrote her own book which is now a movie. This time it’s The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music.

Don’t expect songs and dance and the sights of Salzburg. This is a far more accurate tale of the Von Trapp family story, but will still feel familiar.

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music Captain and Maria

Agathe is the second eldest Von Trapp child; the eldest was Rupert as the film swapped the sibling order.  The movie starts where you see how close the Von Trapp Family are, and how loving they all are to each other. When their mother dies, Agathe looks after the children. They struggle, so Captain Von Trapp gets help – which is where Maria enters the story.

Following in Julie Andrews’ footsteps is an enormous task. But this time Maria is a part of the story, not the main focus. This is Agathe’s story, growing up in Austria. We see her lose her love of singing when her mother dies, vowing to never sing again, which lasts for many years. We see Austria being taken over by the Nazi’s. There are no mountain escapes here, as the Von Trapp family stayed in Salzburg for a while once the Anschluss happened.

We find out Captain Von Trapp loses his money when helping out a friend (relating to the Wall Street Crash), and they’re all left with nothing. We meet Agathe’s resistance fighter best friend Sigi that she has known since childhood. We see Agathe and Sigi make friends with the famous soprano Lotte Lehmann and how the Von Trapp Family begin singing together, paving the way for their journey to America.

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music Von Trapps Singing

As a fan of The Sound of Music, to see the story from this perspective was interesting. I haven’t read Agathe Von Trapp’s book, but did know a lot of the story having read most of Maria Von Trapp’s books. I will be ordering Agathe’s book now!

I would recommend The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music to anyone who wants to know the real story. There are still some changes – Agathe is still the eldest in this film – it shows why the Von Trapp family left Salzburg and Austria. Oh, and what they left behind too.

I haven’t mentioned the actors yet! Matthew McFadyen is a good Captain Von Trapp, Eliza Bennett plays young Agathe – I thought she was pretty good too. Maria is played by Yvonne Catterfield, a German actress who does a fine job.

The Von Trapp Family A Life of Music is released today, 31st October 2016. It is rated 12. H watched it with us and was fine – the scenes which could be troublesome refer to violence. You can buy the DVD from Amazon (affiliate link) and all good retailers.

We were sent the DVD to review. 

The Sound of Music Live on DVD

It is no secret that The Sound of Music is my favourite film – it’s something I always enjoy, and am currently enjoying passing my love onto H. (who also loves it, thank goodness) Over Christmas, ITV got ambitious, following in the footsteps of several productions in the US, doing a proper version of it on tv – The Sound of Music Live – and now it’s available on DVD.

The Sound of Music Live

The Sound of Music Live is exactly that – but don’t expect the same version as the film – this time around it’s the stage play, with just one alteration from that, having ‘Something Good’ in place of ‘An Ordinary Couple’ (it was written for the film). Following Social Media when it was on tv, a lot of people didn’t realise this – and I think it is important that it’s different – and I think tells the Von Trapp story a bit clearer too. (which is still massively different from the musical, but that’s just pulling hairs)

The Sound of Music Live - Kara Tointon

Kara Tointon stars as Maria and did an excellent job, at times I felt she was singing in a similar way to Julie Andrews – this may well be her singing voice of course, though I’m not sure. When we saw the touring stage production last year, Danielle Hope did similar.

The Sound of Music Live - My Favourite Things

The Sound of Music Live – My Favourite Things

Julian Ovenden plays Captain von Trapp and also does an excellent job.

The Sound of Music Live - How Can Love Survive

The Sound of Music Live – How Can Love Survive

With The Sound of Music Live following the stage play, characters like Max and Elsa have a much higher profile role, and the songs ‘How Can Love Survive’ and ‘No Way to Stop It’ (both dropped from the film) make an appearance, tackling Austria and the oncoming Anschluss.  I’ve always felt this part of the film is important, as you get to see the reason the Captain and Elsa split, paving the way for him to marry Maria – and while this is a musical and isn’t an accurate representation of what happened in real life, it’s closer! Max is played by the fabulous Alexander Armstrong (this role is made for him!), while Elsa is played by Katherine Kelly – and both are again, excellent.

The Sound of Music Live - No Way to Stop It

The Sound of Music Live – No Way to Stop It

H’s personal highlight was the appearance of Mel Giedroyc as Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper, what with her love of Bake Off. Mel’s BAFTA nominated sister, Coky Giedroyc directed The Sound of Music Live alongside the Tony Award winning Martin Koch. Oh, and of course it goes without saying, the children were brilliant too!

The Sound of Music Live - Do Re Mi

The Sound of Music Live – Do Re Mi

So here’s what to expect – plenty of singing, Nuns, fun, Wedding, a competition and then there’s the extras. The following night on tv there was a ‘Making Of’ film which I missed – and is included on here so I’ll finally get to see it!

The Sound of Music Live - DVD menu

What you won’t get with The Sound of Music Live – a puppet show while they all yodel (The Lonely Goatherd is the song they sing with Maria when they’re scared of the thunderstorm), My Favourite Things is placed back at the Abbey when Maria leaves to go to the Von Trapp home. ‘I Have Confidence’ (written for the film) doesn’t appear. The songs are in a different order – but remember, this is the original song order, the film changed them around.

The Sound of Music Live - The Lonely Goatherd

The Sound of Music Live – The Lonely Goatherd

All in all, The Sound of Music Live is an enjoyable hour and a half and I’d recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen the stage play – and indeed, anyone who has!

The Sound of Music Live - So Long Farewell

The Sound of Music Live – So Long Farewell

The Sound of Music Live is out now and can be ordered from Amazon now!

We were sent a copy for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. All images are my own personal screengrabs from the DVD. 

The Sound of Music UK Tour

The Sound of Music UK tour is in Wimbledon at the moment. H and I caught the Wednesday matinee performance this week, and loved it. Read on to find out more!

the sound of music uk tour

The Sound of Music UK tour is calling at various venues around the UK at the moment, and is currently at the New Wimbledon Theatre. I’ve grown up loving the film and the play, both of which have their differences. I’ve seen the film more times than I could even estimate, and have seen several stage productions too. Most productions seem to try to recreate the film on stage – understandable as it’s such a lovely film, but they’re missing a trick as the original stage play makes the film much easier to understand. In addition to this, the play has many funny moments which don’t feature in the film at all.

Fortunately the Sound of Music UK tour version is the play – with just one minor change, subsituting ‘An Ordinary Couple’ for ‘Something Good’ (which was written especially for the film).

the sound of music uk tour 2

Danielle Hope plays Maria, and was marvellous. A lot of her pronunciation and the way she sings brings memories of Julie Andrews in the same role, a comparison which is hard to avoid when she’s wearing a short blonde wig. We didn’t have Steven Houghton as the Captain, but his understudy Lynden Edwards was great. I was looking forward to seeing Houghton as I’d seen him seven years ago in Blood Brothers, so that was a bit disappointing. The children were all marvellous and all their voices worked well together. Jan Hartley as Mother Abbess was wonderful too – ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ was powerful and moving (I may have shed a tear or two).

The play itself brings back in the old numbers ‘No Way to Stop It’ and ‘How Can Love Survive’ both songs featuring a singing Baroness Schraeder and Uncle Max, giving them a bit more depth of character than the film did – and with the former song giving the situation in Austria (the Anschluss) a perspective – Elsa and Max believe you can’t stop what’s going to happen, and try to convince the Captain he should pretend to be on-side with the Nazis. This is what leads to the Captain and Elsa breaking up. The latter song is sung again by all three, celebrating their individual wealth and trying to work out how they’ll actually exist together when they’ve both got everything they individually need!

Let’s not forget young Rolf – a different character to the one in the film; the silence in the theatre at the end scene in the Abbey as the Von Trapps escape shows how convincing he was; his love for Liesl and his warnings for them to leave Austria are given a satisfying ending.

the sound of music uk tour h

This was H’s first proper musical on stage, and she loved it. Her favourite character was Gretl, probably as she’s five too – she’s already being like her mummy… ! She managed well with it, the first half of the play is approximately an hour and a half, with a 20 minute interval and a 55 minute second half – so it’s quite long but there are plenty of songs which break up the dialogue when you’re five and just want to hear the music.

Everywhere is celebrating the film being 50, but I would highly recommend seeing the Sound of Music UK Tour while you can – the production is going all over the UK at the moment and just this weekend Wimbledon are offering half price tickets. We’d already bought our tickets, but they’re also doing a ‘Children go Half Price’ deal too (subject to availability, terms and conditions apply).

My biggest criticism. No merchandise! I’d have loved to have a book to accompany it, or even just pictures in the programme. I came away having spent £3 and hoping to spend more. I’d even buy a soundtrack were one to exist – mainly as my only version of ‘No Way to Stop It’ is the original Broadway Mary Martin version!

the sound of music uk tour - poster

The Sound of Music UK Tour has a Tumblr page here

Bill Kenwright’s site is over here with dates and information – plus a gallery where you get a good idea of the gorgeous sets on stage.

I’m already thinking about going again… sigh!

There’s an awesome timelapse video over here of them setting up the stage at Wimbledon

and a fabulous extended trailer here which gives you an idea of how fab Danielle Hope is too

Our next visit to Wimbledon will be for the touring production of Annie in November – H is just as excited about that! (as am I, it’s been over thirty years since I’ve seen it on stage!!)