Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Tiverton's New Hall
Christmas came to Tiverton's New Hall last
week with the Willow Tree Theatre Company's production of It's Beginning to
Look a Lot Like Christmas, a family musical based on the film
Miracle on 34th Street.
The story surrounds the assertion made by Kris Kringle, a genial
old fellow, that he is Santa Claus. His claim finds its way to America's
high court where his lawyer, the show's young hero, wins his case against all
the odds. Generosity of spirit and a big dollop of love play their part in his
achievement. The Christmas message is loud and clear.
Performing with their usual commitment and high energy, the Willow
Tree cast gave it their colourful all. Treading the boards, after an 8 year
absence, Victoria Baldwin took the role of Doris Walker, mother of Susan and
chief executive of Macy's, a large American department store. She sang and
danced with the virtuosity of a true professional and wore a stunning array of
outfits. She looked the part to her sophisticated finger tips.
Susan, played by Emily Searle, is another star. She is 10 and
performed with extraordinary flare and confidence particularly for one so young.
She is surely a talent to watch.
The young lawyer was played by Leon Searle whose warm presence and
fine voice charmed us in the audience as he did Doris with whom he falls in
sported a fine set of white whiskers, as indeed he should, out of which
emerged a charmingly mellow singing voice.
The set was designed and cleverly made by Steve Gage and Theresa
Priscott. It was an ambitious revolve placed
centre stage which rotated to show us Santa's grotto and then seamlessly
round to show us Doris and Susan's apartment - just 2 of many ingeniously
designed scenes. It struck me that the slope of the stage must have made it
very complicated to construct, all the more credit to them. As ever, the
backstage crew worked extremely efficiently and the 8 piece band played with
vigour...there was much drumming... and with sensitivity.
The costumes were created by Denise James whose colourful stamp was
Jon Sowden directed with flare while Willow Tree's Artistic
Director Irene Holland, on sparkling form, was Assistant to Everybody. They
all did a grand job.