Four new holiday season plays opened last week here in Timesland, and all four received accolades from our posse of freelance reviewers. Here’s a roundup of our reviews.
“The Sound of Music,” Mill Mountain Theatre: Mill Mountain Theatre’s ‘The Sound of Music’ a must-see play by Frederick Fuller
“The Sound of Music” is absolutely the best musical MMT could bring to the boards for its new debut after being dark for four years because of financial problems. This is also the most appropriate play to present leading up to its 50th-anniversary season.
“Little House Christmas,” Roanoke Children’s Theatre: Outstanding Roanoke Children’s Theatre cast brings Wilder’s ‘Little House’ to life by Nona Nelson
The sets and costumes in RCT productions are first-rate, and this play is no exception. Director Pat Wilhelms and her team make the cozy cabin the center of the action, then make use of every inch of the stage surrounding it to create the illusion of a prairie.
“It’s a Wonderful Life,” Attic Productions: Sincere performances give Attic’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ heart by Nona Nelson
What gives the story its heart is the sincerity of the performances. Jason Patrick Palmer takes on the lead role, made iconic by Jimmy Stewart, and finds the right combination of tenderness, angst and frustration in the character. Heather Sexton is perfectly cast as George’s supportive wife and Michael Ridenhour brings optimism and levity to his role as Clarence.
“Messiah on the Frigidaire,” Showtimers: ‘Messiah on the Frigidaire’ pokes gentle fun at familiar stereotypes by Jeff DeBell
There is plenty of grist for humor in “Messiah on the Frigidaire,” and the cast does its best to bring it out. Woomer and Kennard are particularly effective as Betsy and Dwayne, respectively. Jeff Shelton as the banker and Wyatt Ewell as the preacher also have their moments. But the production would benefit from a brisker tempo, especially in the first act.