Kingston Meistersingers’ production of The Sound of Music is now playing at the Octave Theatre. (Viara Mileva/Supplied Photo)

The Kingston Meistersingers continue their tradition of bringing popular Broadway musicals to the local stage, produced by and featuring community volunteers, with the performance of a Rodgers & Hammerstein family classic. The Sound of Music offers a pleasant evening of entertainment, comfortable in its familiarity and heartwarming in its earnest delivery of this spirited and romantic tale, based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp.

The stage is set in a time and place of uncertainty, fear and divisive loneliness. Generally, it is the eve of the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany. For the von Trapps specifically, it is a cool and militant home since the passing of the Captain’s wife, and the mother of their seven precocious children. And Maria Rainer, committed to becoming a nun, is at a crossroads, sent to be their next in a string of failed governesses, as she sorts out once and for all if this life of devotion is truly the life of her dreams.

Despite the backdrop of discord, director Ashley Sparkman’s interpretation fails to capture much of the inherent tension in the overall narrative or the developing relationships amongst (and within) most of its characters. Even a failed engagement, for example, ends with no sense of surprise or malice. For the most part, it plays out as a series of forgone conclusions, and the result is a flat and predictable show that feels a little long, especially in a second act that lacks a clear climax. However, Sparkman does share a genuine love for the piece and its incredible score, guiding her cast through the memorable musical numbers that audiences will surely be coming to enjoy. The company’s passion in sharing the songs that are so well known and so well regarded is an obvious pleasure for themselves and their patrons.

As Maria, Sophie Vollick clearly brings and holds the production together, carrying the bulk of the show as the role requires. It is a challenging part, and Vollick rises to the occasion with skill and grace and a generous chemistry with all of her fellow cast. This should come as no surprise opposite love-interest Captain Georg von Trapp, played by her real-life husband, Brandon Vollick. He brings less experience and maturity to the role of the Captain than one might expect, but he executes some key emotional turns quite well. As the von Trapp children, Charlie Van Stone, Emma Detomasi, Micah Garvin, Emily Witjes and Claire Demmons are all delightful, and young Emily Rayls is particularly adorable as Gretl. Kaelin Grassie stands out as eldest sister Liesl, and she also served as choreographer. Grassie shares a very cute number with Grant O’Neill, portraying Rolf Gruber, which adds tremendously to a pivotal moment later in the deciding minutes of the play.

It is its timeless familiarity and nostalgic commitment to love conquering all that will undoubtedly bring family audiences out to see and hear their favourite musical numbers, and they will not be disappointed as this production of The Sound of Music captures and focuses on all the warmth and hope that the show has to offer.


Kingston Meistersingers present The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Director: Ashley Sparkman

Music director: Jennifer Varga

A Kingston Meistersingers production playing at the Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., until Nov. 24. Shows are Thursday to Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2 p.m.


Maria: Sophie Vollick

Capt. Georg Von Trapp: Brandon Vollick

Mother Abbess: Carol Vanderhelm

Max Detweiler: Zhyon Headley

Elsa Schrader: Shannon Donnelly