BWW Reviews: THIS WONDERFUL LIFE Performed By One Wonderful Actor
Arriving at Boise Contemporary Theater, no matter what the weather is outside, is snowing with the wind howling. Once you walk down the hall into the lobby, you are greeted with the bridge set up for the audience to take photos. They even had snow rigged so that it could be snowing in the pictures. (Check out their Facebook page for plenty of examples)
Upon entering the theatre, the set is very simple. A single level small stage set at center stage. The wall is a projection screen broken into about 30 sections. To the right of the stage (from the audience), there were two chairs, blue and burgundy, with a microphone. Just a bit further upstage and off stage was a table set up with the light board and two stage hands, one of which was the Assistant Stage Manager, Sarah Kelso. While waiting for the show to begin, there was a live video feed of those who were taking their photos and enjoying the anticipation of what was to come.
Tom Ford took the stage and told the story of "It's A Wonderful Life" very accurately in less than one minute. That could have been that. I am sure if it was, the audience would have demanded their money back. It was a great gift to the audience that he continued. Tom Ford, as directed by Drew Barr and with the writing of Steve Murray told us the story, narrated it to us as we had seen every year since we were children. The play is a one man show. It was a wonderful choice and Tom was talented enough to do the impersonations of the actors from the movie. I do not say that lightly, imitations are hard to do right. This was right. This was very right. They also chose to make it conversational and put in some lightness where needed.
It was such an enjoyable night. Listening to the movie through the voice of one man, he has a pleasantly smooth strong voice. Listening to him voice some opinions that we may have had and finding the comedy. For instance, the fact that sharing a telephone receiver was pretty sexy.
The story is about George Bailey living his life desiring adventure, even from a young age and throughout his life. Fighting the path his life was taking, nearly physically at every major choice that had to be made. Until he came upon a situation where he felt trapped, if he had to choose the way he always chose, he would be guided even further away from his freedom, his adventure. What he failed to realize but will by the end of the show is that life itself is an adventure and you touch many other lives on your journey the same as they touch yours.
The beginning of the Christmas season, the humanity we are reminded of. The lives that have touch ours and those lives we have touched. What a wonderful time to be reminded of them all. God Bless us, everyone!
Main Photo Credit: Deborah Hardee