Theatre Review: “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” created by director Jan Powell, and based on the essay by Dylan Thomas, is Richmond Shakespeare’s offering for this 2012 holiday season. With fellow critic John Porter playing the older version of Thomas, this production really put me in the holiday spirit. With creative staging inspired by Charlotte Moore’s adaptation for the Irish Repertory Theatre, and featuring a diverse and talented cast, we get a peek into what a typical Christmas may have been like for young Dylan in 1928.
The story is charming, the cast highlights Thomas’s prose by performing many well-known and beloved Christmas carols throughout the 90 minute show. Playing Dylan’s family in Powell’s production are Elisabeth Ashby and Douglas Jones as the mother and father and Liz Blake White and Axle Burtness as Dylan’s older brother and sister.
White has a very pretty singing voice and I thoroughly enjoyed her solos. White and Burtness are fun to watch together as they tease Dylan and goof around during the musical numbers but, the star of this show for me is definitely David Millman, last seen in Richmond Shakespeare’s King John. Playing young Dylan, Millman possesses talent beyond his years and acting chops that rival any actor he is paired with. John Porter was a fantastic choice to play the older Thomas, I really enjoyed listening to his voice narrating the play’s action.
The band led by Andrew Hamm was absolutely fabulous, making a three-piece ensemble sound like so much more, and having never heard music played in Theatre Gym I was impressed by the quality of the facility’s acoustics. The front of the stage was used as a front yard of sorts with fake snow sprinkled around. Which I found to be a nice touch when the actors moved around the front of the stage the snow would fly around creating the illusion of it having just fallen. Another interesting touch implemented by Powell requires the cast to use virtually no props challenging them to create the illusion of them for the audience.
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is currently playing at Theatre Gym at VA Rep Center.
www.richmondshakespeare.com for tickets and show information.
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
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