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A Christmas Story

a Family Play
by Philip Grecian

COMPANY : The Holly Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 1451

SHOWING : December 02, 2005 - December 18, 2005



Everyone’s favorite holiday movie about “Ralphie” the young boy who wants a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas and the other assorted holiday stories featuring Ralphie and the gang that we have grown to love and look forward to watching year after year. Wonderfully adapted for the stage “A Christmas Story” features many of the great movie moments such as the visit with Santa, Flick and the flagpole and many more. Bring the entire family for a holiday treat that will be sure to be enjoyed by all.

Director Jamie Fambrough
Asst. Director Valerie West
Schwartz Taylor Hall
Flick Ben Higgins
Ralphie Sean Newman
Randy Sydney Oliver
Miss Shields Karla Owens
Ralph Tim Quigley
Esther Jane Cassie Reichert
Scut Farkas Kevin Riddle
Helen Weathers Samantha Rotunno
The Old Man Gabe Russo
Mother Heatherly Wannamaker-Nelson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A Christmas Story
by Larry
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Wow - what a gifted actor! Sean Newman did a terrific job as Ralphie. We enjoyed the show. All cast members are to be commended. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Happy "Holly"days!!!
by Holly Ghost
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Sorry I'm late with this review. The Georgia Board of Theatre Ghosts honored me for presiding over one of the seven top theatres in the state. Congrats on the Company for the honor, and thanks to GBTG for that trip to the Bahamas. I am certainly one tan spectre now...

Anyway. On with the review.

A Christmas Story is a delightful script. I would expect nearly everyone has seen the movie, so I won't summerize the plot. But even if you don't like the film (which I'm not very keen on), you'll love the play (which I did). The show is perfectly cast, and all parts are played with overwhelming enthusiasm. They really care about this show. Jamie Fambrough makes a fantastic sophomore directing effort, and should be commended for his ability to make such a technically challenging show seem so effortless.

Speaking of the technicalities... The show is full of sound cues, light cues, scene changes, costume alterations, and props. I'm not sure I've seen a show that is this laden with props. But it all comes together to paint a brilliant painting of Christmas pre-WWII, with no technical mistakes that I could see. I saw plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong, but they never did. The sound cues were on time and the volume was good (one of my pet peeves), the lights set the mood without being intrusive, and the stage crew should be commended with a congressional medal. I can only imagine the chaos that is backstage during this show. Some scenes require full set changes and only last a few lines before changing to something else. The "running" crew certainly earns its name in this show. Kudos!

The cast is delightful to watch. The kids are amazingly talented. The girls Samantha Rotuno and Cassie Reichert capture that giggly schoolgirl perfectly. Ben Higgins and Taylor Hall are the perfect best friends for Ralphie, and add so much comedy to the show. The four characters are barely mentioned, if at all, in the movie, but here they are fully realized beautifully. Karla Owens (though I see in the program that she got married...?) is the perfect school teacher. Firm, yet a slightly crazy streak to her. Two "dream sequences" really let her cut loose and she's fabulous in both. And rounding out the supporting roles, Kevin Riddle makes his Main Stage debut as the neighborhood bully. And as nice a guy as he is, he plays a great bully. My favorite part is when he hitches up his pants after most scenes.

That brings us to the family. Sydney Oliver, only 5, is Randy Parker if I ever saw him. And he's a complete ham on stage. I get the sense that you never really know what he's going to do next, though he is always ready with his lines. He's a nut and I really hope we see more of him in the years to come. Gabe Russo and Heatherly Wannamaker-Nelson are the perfect parents. They both parent their "sons" as if they really were related. The two of them have a brilliant comedic timing that would be hard to duplicate. Their chemistry is second to none, and my favorite part is the Nutcracker "Dance" scene. I can only imagine how long they had to practice that. And rounding out the cast are the two Ralphs, Sean Newman, the younger and Tim Quigley, the older. They look almost alike, they talk alike, and their physicality is alike too. In one scene, Ralphie is being "scolded" in the classroom, and though Tim's Ralph is only the narrator and "not really there", they both rock back and forth simultaneously. They must have studied each other's movements forever to achieve the effect. Both play the role amazingly. And a big standing ovation to Tim for his memorization skills. He must have half the script all to himself. Good grief!

My only complaint with the show is it runs a little long. Not really the fault of the actors, as pacing was quite good. But the script is just kinda long. The show started at 8pm and the show ended at about 10:40. Just kinda long for a show that I know lots of families and kids came to see. However, that being said, I only know of one person that left the show not liking it, but that was for their own reasons. Everyone else that has come to see the show has loved it, and most of the comments I overheard were quite complimentary.

Overall, an absolute delight. If you haven't caught this one, I suggest you do before it closes. Tip-top job Holly Company. You do me proud! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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