Still Miraculous After 70 Years

Monday Magazine's Theatre Critic reviews Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre's production of Miracle on 34th

Sheila Martindale

The concept of a play reading performed as a Radio Play is great, and it works well for Miracle on 34th Street at the Roxy.  To be successful, you need enough space for actors to be at the microphones in quick succession, who can manage without rustling their scripts.  And you need a quick-witted person on Foley – the name given to an assemblage of equipment which will produce sound effects indicating footsteps, doors opening and closing, a telephone ringing, newspapers being read, and other essential sounds for an audience listening to the action over the radio.

R.J. Peters is brilliant as this sound effects person, and the temptation is to ignore the readers and simply to watch this genius work his magic on all the items within his reach. Peters is also the host of the show, and he makes the announcements about the commercials, which of course, are all about the Blue Bridge and the silent auction being held in its support.

The seventeen cast members include five children, and they sort themselves out neatly on the small stage, and mostly make excellent use of the microphones.

Andrew Bailey has adapted (presumably from the 1947 film) the script, and it fits nicely into the 100-minute performance.

The story is well-known – an elderly man plays Santa at Macy’s Department Store in New York.  The thing is, he believes he is the real, one and only Santa Claus; his sincerity and reasonable behaviour make the audience believe him.  But the sceptics argue that he is delusional, and he ends up in court, fighting the order to send him to an asylum for the insane.  He is defended by a young lawyer, who is also trying to persuade a young woman and her daughter the value of belief. So faith is at the root of this delightful Christmas classic.

The Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre is alternating Miracle on 34th Street with another beloved tale – It’s a Wonderful Life, with the same cast and crew.  This is the schedule:  December 16 and 18 at 8:00 pm and December 17 at 2:00 – It’s a Wonderful Life. December 17 and 18 at 8:00 pm and December 18 at 2:00 pm – Miracle on 34th Street.  Buy tickets to both shows and save 20 per cent. An inspiring way to get into the Christmas Spirit, if you are not already there.

A side note to the theatre management – the use of electronic devices should be strongly discouraged.  A woman across the aisle from me had her lighted phone on and was texting throughout the show. She might as well have stayed home to do that.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s Jacana No. 1 is among the paintings she’ll have on display in her upcoming show at the Nanaimo Musuem. (Photo courtesy Shawnda Wilson)
Painting exhibit inspired by long-toed birds and jazz coming to Nanaimo Museum

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s show ‘When Charles Speaks’ opens next week

Most Read