Friday, December 07, 2007

More Christmas Story Praise

Hey Ya'll. Happy Chanukah! I have been very busy writing a bunch of stuff for STYLE, pole dancing, and taking care of my poor injured husband. Please forgive me for my neglect. Anyway, it looks like some fun stuff has been happening on the blog since I last visited. I really enjoyed reading the "Theatre space" responses and Grant's update on all that Performing Arts Center construction going on downtown. Dave you are so right in praising Tony Foley's performance. I have no children in "A Christmas Story" so I can be objective and the pittance you offered for a bribe to give it a good review will definately not affect me in the least- I have debts, baby, you'll have to cough up more than a smile and a handshake.

I adored "A Christmas Story" and it wasn't just that it was in a theatre with flyspace. Sadly, my formal review was so limited in space that when it comes out it will not even slightly do justice to the show. Tony, as Dave T. has already said was fabulous. He did have a lot of lines, true but he really did create a wonderful character as well. In fact everyone in the show was wonderful. The sets and lighting were lovely with the exception of Ralphie's face looking very yellow at times when he was not in a fantasy sequense (a minor infraction. The costumes were OK too but I was unsure about some of the 1938 authenticity. The movie has always looked too '50s too me so I am wondering if the cosutmer chose to just copy the film's flavor or actually researched the era. Also a knit pic in the face of the great script which is beautifully adapted in a way that pays homage to the film without spitting it right back at you. There are some additions to the story like the expanded relationship between Ralphie and his classmate Esther Jane. I could go on and on about this show and all the fun and great performances but I need to get off my duff and start the morning routine. But do go see the show and take all your friends. And Dave, Cooper is really cute, but you knew that already.

7 comments:

K. Smith said...

I am not sure why everyone is giving this production so much praise.

It was, frankly, boring - at least at the production my wife and I saw. Our children, along with the other children in the audience, were restless and uninterested (several parents left with their children halfway through the show not to return); the set had problems; the energy of the actors was low - either that, or they looked as if they were slogging through it and couldn't have cared less; people obviously forgot or made up lines (lots of "Umm's"), and there were scenes that made no sense at all, and literally brought the already long show to a complete stop - and not in the good way.

There were moments of chuckling and laughter, but not enough to warrent glowing praise throughout.

Tony Foley made and carried the production, and did an excellent job. And yes, I agree - Cooper is precious and was very cute. Other then that, I'd rather stay at home and watch the actual movie on TNT all day long on Christmas. It simply is not a movie that translates well to stage. The script is fairly flat and tedious, and this production echoed that truth.

We are continued patrons of Theatre IV, and will always come see their shows. However, this holiday offering left little to be desired, and we were dissapointed.

Anonymous said...

"Picks nit."

Dave T said...

Mary,
I'll be sure and bring cash next time! And with all of the disposable income I could spare at this time of year, you could almost buy a cuppa at Starbucks...

Mr. Smith,
Thanks for your honest assessment, K. I have noticed restlessness as well. And I also don't think it's a show for everyone. It's kind of like the movie in that way. I am not a big fan of the movie and have only seen it once, but I have friends who LOVE it. So it goes.

Mr. Grant Mudge said...

In the really-random-trivia category: I actually went to high school with the actor who played "Ralphie" in the film version, Peter Billingsley. His brother Neil and I were in the same class in Phoenix, AZ, and I remember Peter as a really nice kid who wasn't around very much. Of course, he was well past the "Messy Marvin" and "Christmas Story" phase.

Andrew Hamm will love this: Billingsley's latest project? Executive Producer on Iron Man!

With any luck, "Carol" won't completely overlap I'll be able to catch the Theatre IV show. I too am a big fan on Tony Foley and the whole Timberline clan, and of course of Theatre IV.

blogva said...

Wow,K.,
Sorry you had such a bad experience. We must have seen the show at different times. The cast was full of energy opening night. Everyone but Tony nailed all of their lines as far as I could tell with one or two slight lags from the littlest kid in the show- no names here. I witnessed some restlessness as well but obviously this show would not hold the interest of the smallest theater goer- especially if they are not of an age in which Ralphie's story engages them. I think one needs to be at least familiar with the life of a third grader before this show will be engageing.
The audience laughed a lot during the production I saw. I brought my seven year old daughter to review it to get the un-biased kid perspective and she loved it. In fact she is going to see it again today with her Granny. (She is only in second grade but she "got it" anyway).
I can see how the cast, especially the kids, could be inconsistant. It is a long show and for a kid during the holidays it is a huge commitment. But I disagree with your comments about the script. I thought it was delightful but it probably helped to be a fan of the film and see it with a high energy cast performance.
Thanks for all your comments.
Mary

RichmondTheatreFan said...

I have never seen the film version of ACS, only clips. Frankly, it always seemed like a movie I wouldn't like very much. We attended the Theatre IV version on opening night, and I was actually inspired to Netflix the DVD.
No - it was not a perfect show. But it was fun. From my side of the audience on opening night, there seemed to be a good number of kids who were way to young for it (including a crying baby), and I think this is why there is restlessness at that performance.
My second grader got it (she's never seen the movie either), and she and her father (who loves the movie) endlessly repeated lines for days after the show.
Frankly, ACS was far better than last year's "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (which, in their defense, was an attempt to pull a Christmasy rabbit out of their Santa hats as a last minute replacement).
I guess for me the real success of this show was that my 7 yer old loved it. It was her first non-musical production (that I can think of anyway), after 5 years and many dozens of shows. While it is her natural inclination to think that everyone, on stage or not, should always break in to song, she hardly seemed to notice it missing at ACS. She was too busy laughing.

Dave T said...

One more note from this ongoing production: this past Saturday night, the audience was probably 80% adults / 20% kids unlike the usual 50/50 or so. I only caught the tail end, but every actor I spoke to afterwards said it was their best show yet. The audience was very responsive and as a result, everything just clicked. It reinforces Andrew Hamm's point about the essential aspects of theater -- a specific audience can make a world of difference.