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Miracle on 34th Street

“Touching and heart-warming”

Originally produced on Broadway as Here’s Love, Meredith Willson’s musical adaptation of the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street is steeped in nostalgia.

The mysterious Kris Kringle saves Macy’s Thanksgiving parade when their Santa Claus arrives drunk, but his insistence that he is in fact the real Santa gets him into trouble. But his warmth and love for everybody begins to melt even the most sceptical of hearts – and the commercialism of Christmas.

The score is beautifully rendered by George Francis and his six-piece band but, despite Francis’ sumptuous orchestrations, Willson’s music is underwhelming. By combining the two most memorable songs – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas and Pine Cones and Holly Berries – it undersells them.

There are some fine voices among the cast, most notably Caitlin Berry and Stuart Reid, who play Macy’s Santa-doubting Doris Walker and Fred Gailey, the ex-marine who sets about making her believe. Tim Parker is a perfect Kris Kringle and there are also several fine child actors, especially Emma Kennedy-Rose, debuting as Doris’ stoical daughter Susan (played at alternate performances by Maddison Thew).

Olivia du Monceau’s set consists of a stack of ribbon-tied gift boxes growing out of Macy’s lobby, and director Gemma Bodinetz unwraps their contents with all the magic of Christmas Day. It’s an old fashioned show, and it lacks a bit of pizzazz, but it’s a real winter heart-warmer.

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Production Details
Production nameMiracle on 34th Street
VenuePlayhouse Theatre
StartsDecember 7, 2019
EndsJanuary 4, 2020
Running time2hrs 30mins
ComposerMeredith Willson
Book writerMeredith Willson
LyricistMeredith Willson
DirectorGemma Bodinetz
Musical directorGeorge Francis
ChoreographerTom Jackson Greaves
Set designerOlivia Du Monceau
Costume designerOlivia Du Monceau
Lighting designerPaul Keogan
Sound designerIan Davies
Casting directorWill Burton
CastKevin Harvey, Liam Tobin, Mark Rice-Oxley, Nicole Deon, Stuart Reid, Tim Parker, Caitlin Berry, Chloe Pole, Emma Kennedy-Rose, Isaac Lancel-Watkinson, Maddison Thew, Marlis Robson, Taylor Walker
Stage managerKate Eccles
ProducerLiverpool Everyman, Playhouse
VerdictTouching and heart-warming, if underpowered musical version of a Christmas classic
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