It really was a Wonderful Life at NTC

This is late. Very late. I console myself with the fact that the entire run of the show It’s a Wonderful Life that played last month at Newnan Theatre Company was sold out, and therefore, the timeliness of this review is unimportant. So, there’s that.

But. I have pledged to review shows on the Southside, and review I shall. So, better late than…read on.

First, the script by James Rodgers. Of course it’s based on the film by Frank Capra, with the familiar characters, plot lines and even frankly dialogue lifted from that timeless classic. But it’s not a scene-by-scene recreation and Mr. Rodgers has done a very credible job of taking a movie and turning it into a stage worthy vehicle. It moves, quite nicely. Scenes flow in a logical progression that tells the story and takes advantage of what the theatrical medium has to offer. I wish I’d written it; he’ll be making royalties for lifetime with this piece.

The story begins on the bridge, where George has come in full despair, to be stopped by Good Angel Clarence.  Our hero, our George, is played by Josh Hendricks, who we last saw onstage in Evil Dead. I took Josh to task for that performance, believing him to be in over his head but as George, he does just fine, with confidence, a ‘aw shucks’ affability and just enough appropriate awkwardness to carry off the role that James Stewart made so much his own.  Clarence the Angel is carried off charmingly by Daniel Sellars; the role is a good fit for him.

I enjoyed the performances of Dave Van Sant and Jeff Brandon as the wonderful Bert and Ernie. I really enjoyed the blustery, almost over the top performance of Robert Stowe as Mr. Potter.

The ladies of the cast don’t quite come off as well; inexperience showing in a lack of vocal confidence and physical awkwardness at times. The cast is, as a whole, quite inexperienced but Kudos to each and every one. There’s a reason we call it Community Theatre. Many, many great actors got their start in community theatres. I hope each and every one of these thespians come back, and do another show.

Technically, there’s not a lot to write about. The set was minimal, mostly props which were mostly fine (a couple of time inappropriate issues, shall we say. We shall). The costumes, likewise. The director wisely choose to keep things simple and keep the show moving. It was a good choice. Director Charles Ferguson gets respect for realizing an enjoyable show.

It certainly was a crowd pleaser. And that’s another thing a Community Theatre is for.