The seats were full Tuesday evening as Louisville locals strolled in to view the Actors Theatre’s third annual production of A Christmas Story. This popular motion picture classic traditionally watched in homes to summon Christmastime was brought to life before our very eyes, thanks to Philip Grecian’s adaptation.
The set design was one of the best I have seen at Actors, with Act 1 resulting in a two-tiered set and a dramatic change in Act 2 for the mall scene. A backdrop of blue-favored-snow-laden houses paired with a techno-color Christmas tree complimented the golden light of the famous “leg lamp” in front of the window. The set alone could easily transport us to Hohman, Indiana, circa 1940.
There were some notable differences with Grecian’s adaptation: without the gift of motion picture special effects, there is a consistent execution of creative props and comic relief sewn into the dialogue causing the audience to use their imagination even through distinct moments of realism. For example, this version included hilarious elves who introduced the play, were responsible for scene changes amid amusing dance scenes, and who had creative interaction with cast members to create scenes similar to the movie.
The narration was audible as well as physically viewable as the present-time (now grown) Ralph Parker (Larry Bull) reminisced aloud while circumnavigating each scene.
There were several stars of this production. Henry Miller (Ralphie Parker) of course, with the right pair of glasses really took on the personification of Ralpie, but what indubiously got the crowd in a consistent uproar of laughter (aside from the elves) were The Old Man (Justin R. G. Holcomb) and Mother (Jessica Wortham). Holcomb’s animated voice and dramatic gestures were well supported by Wortham’s whimsical light-heartedness, and together collided into an explosion of histrionic hilarity.
Add to that an Andrea-Martin-like Miss Shields (Katie Blackerby) and a supporting cast of surprisingly look-alike characters to the movie, and a fuzzy sweater — you have an evening guaranteed to make you laugh for years to come! This production was so entertaining that I am bundling up my children and bringing them to see it. Perhaps they will learn a lesson…a Red Rider BB Gun might “Shoot your eye out”.
A Christmas Story will be showing at Actors Theatre Nov. 8 – Nov. 27. For tickets and more information visit: http://actorstheatre.org/shows/a-christmas-story-2011-2012
Written By: Jessica Eturralde for City Concierge Louisville
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