Dec 06

Lunchbox Theatre’s radio play ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is quite wonderful

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

I have a confession to make. I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life in its entirety. Sure, I’ve seen bits and pieces on tv, during the holidays, but I’ve never sat down and watched the whole thing which makes me a Wonderful Life newby. It makes Lunchbox Theatre’s live radio play of It’s a Wonderful Life adapted by Joe Landry, is all the more lovely, to someone who has never sat down and watched - or in this case heard - the full story. This play is a dramatized acoustic performance as it would be broadcasted on the radio. It’s an energetic, full telling of a classic story, that fills you with the spirit of the holiday.

The play opens to the host of the radio program Freddie Filmore (Kevin Rothery) who then introduces each actor and character: Jake Laurents (Devon Dubnyk) who plays George Bailey, Sally Applewhite (Arielle Rombough) as Mary Hatch, Lana Sherwood (Kathryn Fadum) who plays primarily Violet Bick and others, Harry Heywood (Andy Curtis) as Uncle Billy and others, and Edward Irvine (Connor Pritchard) as the studio assistant in charge of foley. Anton de Groot’s set design has microphones set up across the stage so that actors drop in and out of each microphone to play their character. They use props to muffle or amplify their voices and each take on different roles in creating foley.

The process of creating the sounds for the radio are visually animated on their own. It’s fascinating to watch how each actor creates the needed sound, be it heels clicking together or popping bubble wrap slowly to sound like a fire cracking.

It’s the talent of the cast, performing primarily in sound but also for the audience that makes  It’s a Wonderful Life feel very much alive. Dubnyk is strong as George Bailey and projects his emotions into his voice. Rombough is equally as compelling as Mary. Curtis, playing several different characters, changes his voice distinctly for each, so there is never any confusion. Fadum’s voice and demeanour as George Bailey’s child are so endearing and Rothery is versatile as ever in his many roles. Director Craig Hall brings out the best of everyone and ensures that the production unfolds seamlessly.

All of the elements come together for a heartfelt telling of a story that - most of us - know very well. Lunchbox’s production is a great way to get into the holiday season.

Lunchbox Theatre’s presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life runs until December 21. More information is available online.

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