It's A Wonderful Life
Soulpepper presents heartwarming holiday classic staged as 1940s radio play
Written for the stage by Philip Grecian
Based on the film by Frank Capra
Directed by Albert Schultz
Assistant director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu
Looking for some feel-good holiday fare to brighten your spirit this season? Bring the family to Soulpepper's production of It's A Wonderful Life, now playing at the Bluma Appel Theatre. Philip Grecian's stage adaptation of Frank Capra's cherished film reimagines the story as 1940s radio broadcast, transporting the audience to the fictional town of Bedford Falls through clever use of sound.
The tale of George Bailey (Gregory Prest) and the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Oddbody (Oliver Dennis) one fateful Christmas eve is as moving as ever, and the behind-the-scenes nature of this production adds a unique layer of artistry. Feauturing beautiful set and costume design by Lorenzo Savoini and foley design by John Gzowski, the drama unfolds with the help of a 16-member ensemble, including Raquel Duffy as Mary Bailey, Diego Matamoros as the greedy Mr. Potter, Derek Boyes as the angel Joseph and Peter Bailey, and Michelle Monteith as Violet and little Zuzu Bailey. Other ensemble members include Sascha Cole, Christef Desir, Michelle Fisk, Thea Lapam, Richie Lawrence, Ellie Moon, Daniel Mousseau, Marcel Stewart and James Smith (musician). Together they create a terrific symphony of footsteps, slamming doors, howling wind, cooing birds and screeching tires before our eyes.
The performers move rapidly through the dialogue, characters and scenes, which may be confusing to those who are not familiar with the film. However, audience members who know the movie version well will find it easy to follow, and may even be tempted to close their eyes periodically to bask in the auditory magic.
It's A Wonderful Life is on stage until December 31, 2016 at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit soulpepper.ca for more information and to buy tickets.