A Short Theatre Review
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Town of Devon and regional theatre lovers were the recipients of an artistic treat on the weekend of December 16, 17 band 18 when the East of 60 Productions performed a dinner-theatre, “It’s a wonderful life”, a live radio play by Tony Palermo. Actors holding on to their printed scripts, sound effects and a pianist in a corner of the stage adorned with 40s artifacts, laughter engulfing the audience on several occasions, musical jingles created to promote the four sponsors, the play was a breathless collection of short conversations and phone calls among the characters, who sat on chairs on the back of the stage, waiting for their turn at the microphone.
Our very own Pipestone Flyer columnist and funny guy Chris McKerracher, also a talented actor and playwright, had a somewhat humorous role to play, as this theatre company shares talents with the Calmar Prairie. Daryl McIntyre of TV news fame was a dynamic guest MC, and also funny I might add.
Lead character George Bailey was played by Jayson Hlus, a young man with several plays under his belt, loaded with many performing talents, including a very pleasing and confident voice! Paula Bancroft, also a member of the Calmar Prairie players, was a charming and self-assured Mary Bailey.
“It’s a wonderful life” is the classic story of an angel hoping to get his wings when George Bailey is troubled by the ups and downs of his banking career and the economy of 1945, and contemplating (and executing) a suicide that is then reversed, to give him a full appreciation of his life on earth. The strange voice of the angel (Chris M.) and the many voices of Miss Jennifer Hart, impersonating four children and a parrot add to the erie set-up of a play that, in its era, was only heard on the radio!
Each of the three acts was introduced, and closed by, a Christmas carol and sponsors’ jingles, very attractive musical commercials that should be considered for use in current media campaigns! Play directors Vicki and Peter Smith, producer Leslie Hart, and the crew and volunteers of East of 60 should be proud of a job well done. All theatre lovers and local community supporters should be encouraged to visit East of 60 on the web, and learn of the scheduled performances for 2012.