Stage rendition of The Sound of Music could be one of your favourite things this holiday

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Since The Sound of Music graced our movie theatres in 1965, our image of Maria and Captain Von Trapp has always been Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. These legendary roles have left a lot to live up to for stage actors in the theatrical version – including Victoria’s own production, which premiered on Dec. 7 at the McPherson Playhouse.

Kelley O’Connor plays Maria and finely captures the character’s naivety and liveliness. Maria brings music back into the life of Captain Georg Von Trapp, a father who turned cold after becoming a widower, stoically played by Colin Grewar.

The Von Trapp children are just as delightful in the musical as they are in the movie. Kaitlin Bain plays a spirited Liesl, the oldest sibling and a teenager in love with the messenger boy. But perhaps the unexpected star of the show is Molly McClellan, who sweetly portrays Gretl, the youngest of the children. Her time on stage garnered the most exclamations of “awww” throughout the evening.

A full orchestra at the front of the stage adds texture to the live performance. As Maria begins her first solo, “The Sound of Music,” the song’s familiarity lights up the audience.

Songs are performed in a different order in the stage version. For example, we first hear “My Favourite Things” at the beginning, instead of near the middle (which is when it is performed in the film). Maria and Mother Abbess, played by Eva Bild, sing the piece together, also unlike the film.

Bild, in particular, demonstrated vocal prowess near the end in her performance of “Climb Every Mountain” as she convinces Maria to follow her destiny.

To anyone who has never seen the musical, it might seem like a fast-forwarded version of the film at times. Certain famous scenes that were in the movie are skipped over and only referenced in later dialogue.

The Nazism aspect of the story is much more in-your-face. The audience gasped when three large Nazi flags were lowered during one of the final scenes.

Some aspects of the costume and set are similar to the film, like the regal terrace of the Von Trapp house, the olive green curtains that Maria uses to make play-clothes for the children, and Maria’s short, blond hairdo. Even the musical program uses a photo of the mountainous backdrop from the film.

This interpretation of The Sound of Music, presented by the Victoria Operatic Society, is thoughtfully done and a commendable piece of community theatre. It’s a good one to check out for getting into the holiday spirit, but only if you don’t mind the yodelling from “The Lonely Goatherd” replaying in your head after the show.

The Victoria Operatic Society presents: The Sound of Music

Dec. 7–8 and 13–15 @ 8 p.m.

Dec. 9 and 16 @ 2 p.m.

McPherson Playhouse

Tickets start at $19 for students

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