Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre

Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre

This heartwarming production runs through December 17th.

To close out its 109th season, Ottawa Little Theatre is fully embracing the holidays with its production of Miracle on 34th Street, right down to the poinsettia centerpieces on the tables and hot chocolate offered as refreshment. Based on a novel by Valentine Davies and the beloved classic movie of the same name, Miracle, directed by Josh Kemp and Lisa Dunn, tells the story of Kris Kringle (Brian Cano), a man who genuinely believes he is the Santa Claus. Down and out on the streets of New York City in the month leading up to Christmas, by fluke, Kringle gets his dream job at Macy's department store playing Santa Claus. Here, Kringle is in his element, befriending the children who visit him, including cynical Susan (Samantha Bérubé), the young daughter of a Macy's shopkeeper, Doris (Christina Roman), and helping parents find the perfect gifts for their children. When he finds out that the store is merely using him to try to maximize their profits, Kringle refuses to be a part of it.

Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre
Itzy Kamil as Fred Gayley and the cast of Miracle
on 34th Street
. ©Maria Vartanova.

A series of events unfold that ultimately lead to a trial where a New York justice (Allan MacLeod) must decide whether Kringle is legitimately recognized as Santa Claus or if he should be institutionalized. If they decide the latter, what will happen to Christmas for the children of New York and - more importantly for politicians in an election year - will the parents of disappointed children react with their votes?

Performances in the first act were somewhat stilted, with some overacting and fumbled lines, as if the actors hadn't had quite enough rehearsal time. As it is early into Miracle's run, I expect this to quickly improve as the actors settle into their roles. Indeed, the second half was significantly stronger than the first, spearheaded by excellent performances by MacLeod as Judge Harper, Robert (Bob) Hicks as Halloran, and Itzy Kamil as Fred Gayley. Special praise is also warranted for the actors who entertained the audience during some longer set changes by singing Christmas carols; I know how intimidating it can be to get up on stage and be the audience's singular focal point - bravo!

Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre
Festive decorations at ​​Ottawa ​​​​Little
Theatre. ©Courtney Castelino.

Cano's Kringle was a crowd favourite, earning a rousing standing ovation at the curtain call. He acted alongside his real-life granddaughter, Bérubé, making her debut as Susan with loads of charm. The elves (Harrison True, Madeleine DoCanto-Primeau, Maggie Paquette, and Jeannine Richard) were mostly used as comic relief and they fulfilled that task with a heavy dose of silliness admirably well.

The sets (Sally McIntyre), especially Macy's North Pole display, were superb, with a lot of attention to detail. The sound (David Ing and Ben Langille) and lighting (Garret Brink) were used effectively, especially in the opening scene and whenever department store Santa photos were being taken. There is also a scene near the end of the second act that was brilliantly staged - but I don't want to give it away for those who are unfamiliar with the story, so you'll have to see it for yourself.

Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre
Cast of Miracle on 34th Street. ©Maria Vartanova.

Miracle on 34th Street is a heartwarming story about embracing the holiday spirit and believing that dreams do come true by having faith or, as Fred Gayley states, "believing in things when common sense tells you not to". Given world events that have unfolded over the last couple of years, having a respite from the oft-harsh realities of life and being able to hang your skepticism up at coat check is most welcome. People of all ages will enjoy this show and leave with a smile on their faces.

Miracle on 34th Street is in performances at the Ottawa Little Theatre through December 17th. Click here for more information or here to buy tickets.

Photo Credit: Maria Vartanova



Review: AS YOU LIKE IT: A RADICAL RETELLING at Ottawas Great Canadian Theatre Company Photo
What did our critic think of AS YOU LIKE IT: A RADICAL RETELLING at GCTC?

Margaret Atwood and Jake Heggies SONGS FOR MURDERED SISTERS Will Embark on World Premiere  Photo
Released during the pandemic as both a film and a Juno-nominated album, the set of eight songs was created in response to one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Canadian history.

Banff Centre For Arts And Creativity Announces Chris Lorway As Incoming President And CEO Photo
Banff Centre has announced that the Board of Governors has appointed Chris Lorway as the 8th President and CEO in its 90 year history. Lorway takes the reins effective April 10th, 2023.

BOND AND BEYOND Comes to National Arts Centre This Week Photo
Join Her Majesty’s Secret Service for an unparalleled evening of music that brings the world’s favourite secret agent to Southam Hall.  Guest conductor Michelle Merrill, powerhouse vocalist Rebecca Noelle, and the NAC Orchestra celebrate the superspy and the music that is as timeless as the man himself – with classics like Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, Goldfinger, and Skyfall.  


From This Author - Courtney Castelino

Originally from Montreal, Courtney loves the theatre, in general, and Broadway, in particular. She saw her first show when she was thirteen years old: a touring production of The Phantom of the Ope... (read more about this author)


Review: AS YOU LIKE IT: A RADICAL RETELLING at Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre CompanyReview: AS YOU LIKE IT: A RADICAL RETELLING at Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre Company
January 21, 2023

What did our critic think of AS YOU LIKE IT: A RADICAL RETELLING at GCTC?

Review: COME FROM AWAY at Ottawa's National Arts CentreReview: COME FROM AWAY at Ottawa's National Arts Centre
December 28, 2022

What did our critic think of COME FROM AWAY at Ottawa's National Arts Centre?

Review: O CHRISTMAS TEA at Meridian Theatres @ CentrepointeReview: O CHRISTMAS TEA at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe
December 19, 2022

What did our critic think of O CHRISTMAS TEA at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe?

Review: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens' Presentation of THE NUTCRACKER at the National Arts CentreReview: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens' Presentation of THE NUTCRACKER at the National Arts Centre
December 4, 2022

What did our critic think of LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS' PRESENTATION OF THE NUTCRACKER AT THE at National Arts Centre?

Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little TheatreReview: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre
December 4, 2022

What did our critic think of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Ottawa Little Theatre?