A Theatre Buff Reviews: It’s A Wonderful Life

Theatre Aquarius’ It’s A Wonderful Life is a superb transformation of a classic Christmas movie to the stage. Thomas M. Sharkey’s re-working of this piece comes complete with an engaging mash-up of secular songs and Christmas carols. Tunes will be sufficiently familiar, such that some theatre attendees may find themselves humming, as did the lady behind me!

It’s A Wonderful Life is a retrospective for George Bailey who has decided one Christmas eve that his family would better off if he were dead. Over the course of an evening, his guardian angel, the bumbling Clarence, is able to show George what life in Bedford Falls would have been like if George had never been born. It’s an opportunity for reflection that many of us might benefit from, and that’s probably why It’s A Wonderful Life is a movie that many families watch year after year.

The triple-threat cast for this production is strong. They act, sing, and dance with ease. With the bridge as the backdrop, the set is a creative interpretation of life in small towns — from the intimacy of living-rooms, to the commerce of offices, and the sociability of front porches. The series of suspended windows that frame the stage are used effectively to illustrate the health and well-being of a community. The period, World War II, is represented well in the costumes. I noticed details that were attended to, like a fur stole complete with head and tail, and seams in the nylon stockings.

My only regret is that I did not get to see and write about this play earlier in its schedule. If you can find the time between now and December 27th to see It’s a Wonderful Life, it will be an afternoon, or an evening, well spent.