REVIEW: Recharge holiday spirit with ACT Christmas showThe title of Area Community Theatre’s holiday production “Uh-Oh Here Comes Christmas” will ring true for anyone who at this time of year feels like a participant in a marathon race.
By: JULIE BROOKBANK, For Mitchell Area Community Theatre
The title of Area Community Theatre’s holiday production “Uh-Oh Here Comes Christmas” will ring true for anyone who at this time of year feels like a participant in a marathon race.
Will the cards get ordered, addressed and sent on time? Will there be fresh-baked cookies and snacks available for guests? Will that impossible-to-find toy on a child’s Christmas list find its way under your tree?
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, I encourage you to take a couple of hours off and attend this show. Directors Terri Jacklin and Vicki Hansen-Hickey have designed a simple set and staged a series of holiday vignettes that will remind you of the hectic pace of the season, but also the importance of family, friends and faith.
“Uh-Oh” is a collection of stories by Robert Fulghum, best known for his work “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” and other essays. There are the familiar, expected skits about a crazy Christmas pageant, Secret Santa, a funny family Christmas dinner in which confessions abound, and a ubiquitous poinsettia.
But there are small hidden gems in “Valentine Christmas Tree” and “A Midnight Clear.”
Each of the vignettes is delivered by a capable cast, and there is just enough humor and music to keep things moving along.
Principal roles are filled by ACT veterans Cindy Bierman, Al Jacklin, AJ Bierman and Devin Carey. Cindy Bierman brings a delightful sense of mischief to her skits, including “Trick or Treat,” “The Poinsettia” and “A Holiday Wedding.” Jacklin narrates a personal tale of the “Salvation Army” and “Midnight Clear” with warmth and feeling.
Randy Varilek, making only his second appearance in an ACT production, really shows his range with the heartfelt “Good Stuff” and humorous “Refrigerator.” Cheryl Perfili and Kelly Manosh round out the adult cast. Making the entire production a family affair are Varilek’s daughter, Hannah Varilek, and Faith Morgan, daughter of Manosh. Cayden Weaver also makes several appearances.
A dramatic faux-Christmas tree made of white fabric is the centerpiece of the set.
Carey’s lighting design makes the most of the tree and several special lighting effects heighten the experience of a clear, snowy Christmas night. Vicky Schaefer’s live keyboard accompaniment will give you a chance to hear many familiar Christmas carols.
This show does not have the true storyline of past shows like “A Christmas Carol” or “A Christmas Story,” but in the canon of Christmas productions, this one is respectable for its “relate-ability” to an audience. So if you’re a little tired after hauling out the holly, putting up the tree, slicing up fruitcake, and hanging tinsel on evergreen boughs, take a friend to “Uh-Oh Here Comes Christmas” and recharge your holiday spirit.
The show by Area Community Theatre has performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Tickets are on sale at the theater, or more information is available at 996-9137 or www.mitchellact.org.