Theatre Review: It's A Wonderful Life


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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, December 3, 2007

In the golden age of radio, everything was done live. This Foothill Theatre production begins with the cast singing the call letters.

(station ID)

The production features a full-time sound man a la “Prairie Home Companion,” creating audio pictures. In one scene, he uses a wooden whistle and two scrub brushes.

(train)

Did you see the train? The sound man also puts you into an automobile, even though there isn’t one on stage.

(slam, horn)

The cast also does old-style singing commercials.

(hair tonic ad)

The story, about George Bailey and his little Building and Loan in Bedford Falls, is one most people know from the famous film. But because it’s staged as 1940s radio broadcast, it becomes a play within a play. There’s an added degree of tension, because these actors are working live, before a huge audience of radio listeners, without a safety net. It gives the show extra zip, keeping things fresh.

"It's A Wonderful Life" plays at the Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City through December 30th.