Review – Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street – Stage Door Theatre Company – Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge till Saturday

It takes a huge amount of effort to stage any amateur production these days – people have such busy lives and it’s hard to get the commitment needed. So it’s important to support the local groups – especially at this time of year when its manic enough without having to organise a fully functioning musical with live orchestra and small children!

Miracle on 34th Street is an iconic film – whether it transfers well to the stage as a musical depends very much on the songs – and apart from ‘Its beginning to look  lot like Christmas’ – the songs in this production are not really ‘sing along’ enough. It also depends on getting the feel of a big New York parade without the effects you can have with film – and that’s not easy with a small and rather young cast.

Not that there isn’t some good things to see in this production. The set by Richard Rumbellow is wonderful – and beautifully conjures up a street in New York without a wobble in sight.  Phil Cory is excellent as Kris Kringle – the man who truly believes he is Santa Claus and goes to court to prove it. And Sophia Whatling is very sweet as Susan Walker – the little girl whose life gets transformed by Christmas magic.

I saw it the first night – and it did seem under rehearsed, but hopefully will improve as the week goes on. There also needed to be a bit more spectacle in the big numbers. But if you like a smaltzy Christmas show go and support the Stage Door Company performers, Director Julie Locke and Musical Director Mike Wren at Seckford Theatre. They’ve all worked very hard.

Suzanne Hawkes

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