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Monday, August 23, 1999 Published at 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK


Cinemas alive with the sound of music

Cinema fans are flocking to relive the Julie experience

One of the world's most famous musicals -The Sound of Music - is being given the karaoke treatment.

The classic film starring Julie Andrews has been holiday television fodder for years - but is now being recycled as a new form of adult entertainment.

The BBC's Max Flint reports on a new cinema phenomenon
Audiences in London's West End have been packing the aisles to take part in special singalong performances of the Sound of Music - complete with subtitles for the lonely few who have managed to escape watching the epic.

Instead of being shushed for eating popcorn too loudly, cinema-goers are positively encouraged to let rip with a vengeance.

Singing, cheering and hissing are all standard behaviour.

[ image: Members of the audience dress as their favourite characters]
Members of the audience dress as their favourite characters
Many members of audience dress up as characters in the musical - converting bedroom curtains into nun's habits and leiderhosen.

Loud cheers greet Julie when she hits the screens to belt out "The hills are alive with the sound of music" or the von Trapp children line-up for another saccharine performance of "So Long, Farewell."

'Hugely uplifting'

Comedian and 'Sound of Music' host Graham Norton admitted cinema-goers were being whipped up into a frenzy by the shows.

But he added: "The only slight disappointment is the first time you see Julie Andrews act, that is the bit you have forgotten. She is very good at the singing though."

Organisers of the event are so delighted with the success of the shows they are now planning to take the concept to the rest of the country.

[ image: Maria Von Trapp - Enduring icon]
Maria Von Trapp - Enduring icon
Lisle Turner, of the Prince Charles cinema said: "Audience reaction is absolutely wonderful. It is a complete sell-out.

"It is hugely popular and they have such a good time.

"Communal singing is a hugely uplifting thing - it is more fun than singing in church."

One male fan dressed as a nun said: "Everyone is entering it into it hugely. The whole idea of a musical is participation. If you can't sing and enjoy, then there is no point taking part in it at all."

It may be more like panto than a night out at the flicks, but if you cannot wait to see Julie Andrews until the next Boxing Day repeat, now is the time to shake out those leiderhosen.

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