December 15, 2008

This Wonderful Life


The Indiana Repertory Theatre's new Christmas show is a one man rendition of "It's a Wonderful Life." The initial concept sounds odd, but in the hands of actor Jerry Richardson it's delightful. It enhances the original classic film, while at the same time standing on its own as a great performance.

Richardson provides the narration and plays all of the characters. He adds humor with his energetic portrayal of everyone from the evil Mr. Potter to the coquettish Violet. He is able to channel Jimmy Stewart in a way that's almost spooky. The well-known story is interspersed with commentary and is at times hilarious and at others, heartbreaking.

Unlike most Christmas stories, there is no Santa Claus and no ghosts of Christmas present of past. The plot focuses on one man's simple life and his struggles. George Bailey is just a good man who has come to the end of his rope and feels lost. It's a feeling that most people can identify with. Because of this, the story transcends the Christmas trappings and applies to people's lives no matter what time of year it is.

The play reminds audiences why they fell in love with Bedford Falls in the first place. It also adds a fresh Christmas show to Indianapolis' regular December docket. During this dour holiday season, when the economy is flailing, the play stresses the important message, "no man is a failure who has friends."

Don't Miss the Show

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "This Wonderful Life" runs until Sunday, Jan. 4 on IRT's Upperstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

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