We had the pleasure having “So This is Christmas…” reviewed by the Capital Critics’ Circle’s Iris Winston this past weekend.
“So This is Christmas” : Two Different Takes on the Christmas Spirit.
Reviewed by Iris Winston
The two one-act comedies that make up Phoenix Players’ So This is Christmas, deliver two different takes on the spirit of the season.
In Sleeping Indoors by Jim Holt (retired artistic director of City Lights Theatre, Savannah, Georgia), a literary couple takes in a homeless man to provide him with a taste of the warmth of the season. As they learn more about him from his journal, they also learn more about generosity, individuality and his view of the world.
In The Christmas Tree by Norm Foster, two lonely people duel for the last scrawny tree available on Christmas Eve, using tall tales to engender sympathy as the weapon of choice.
The plays are light. The tone is pleasant and the style of presentation is gentle as director Jo-Ann McCabe leads her casts on their exploration of the Christmas season.
Mike Kennedy’s well-rounded characterization of the homeless Dwain, a man with extraordinary talent and a massive fear of confinement, is particularly noteworthy. As Paul and Nora, the couple who take Dwain into their home, Craig Miller and Bobby Robert are believable in their concerns and enthusiasm for his ability.
As Nora’s promiscuous sister, Nichole, Jennifer Bond is bubbly, though sometimes a little too exuberant and emphatic to be totally credible. Meanwhile, Grace Davidson’s pleasant singing voice and quiet guitar strumming fill in the time between scene changes in her role as the carol-singing minstrel.
In The Christmas Tree (which Norm Foster wrote for Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre), Lisa Moore and Dan Smythe vie for possession of the last (and, as presented, possibly the ugliest) tree on the Christmas tree lot.
As Sonja, Moore is smart and sarcastic, while, Smythe plays up his loser status, touching it with the hope that the chance encounter might end with the lonely pair spending Christmas Eve together.
Despite the thin story line, The Christmas Tree works, partly because of Foster’s one-liners and partly because of the well-directed interaction and well-established comfort level between the two actors.
So This is Christmas continues at the Gladstone to December 5.
For the full article, please visit the Capital Critic’ Circle website.