KODAK Digital Still Camera

The stage musical of the famous movie Miracle on 34th Street has been on at The Royal Hippodrome Theatre as part of a longer tour. Quite enchanting.

Is there a real Father Christmas? Can his existence be denied? It might take two hours and a lot of singing and dancing to find out the answer, but the time goes so fast because you know you believe that he really does exist – and is live on the stage in front of you.

Hannah Thompson is the juvenile lead, Claire Hawkins her mother, and Carl Lindquist the male love interest. Daughter Susan wants a dad, and Kris Kringle, who is hired by Macy’s New York department store to be Santa Claus, played by Danny Lane, makes her wishes come true.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The scenery changes occur subtly, changing from outside Macy’s store with the parade passing by, to a living room. The second half courtroom was especially prominent, used to good effect.

There is one lady who comes on throughout in different guises, initially as part of Macy’s parade, then as the housekeeper with a phony dog, a nurse, a court reporter, and throughout she gurns to the audience. Very strange stage-craft, and you find yourself drawn to watch out for her in every scene. The dog scene is especially bizarre, as you wonder what she and the dog being manipulated by sticks can possibly add to the scene. An unusual distraction.

19 year old Hannah as Susie is especially talented, with a believable portrayal of a character very much younger. Claire Hawkins brought her experience as an actress to the quality of her role, and Danny lane was completely believable as Santa Claus. If I lost that faith when achieving adulthood, I left the theatre knowing that Father Christmas really does exist. And he can sing as well.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The movie was originally made in 1947, and in 1963 it was turned into a stage musical by Meredith Willson, who also wrote the Music Man. Some of the tunes reminded me of this, I had no idea that ‘It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ was a number, and there were two exceptionally strong second half numbers in ‘She Hadda Go Back’ and ‘My State, My Kansas’.

The story relies on the perils of Santa Claus, will he be locked up in an institution because he knows he is the real thing? Or will he live happily ever after in Macy’s department store, making miracles come true. The clue is in the title of the show.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is a Paul Taylor-Mills production, and is touring round the UK. It is of a very high standard, with polished performances, strongly rehearsed, quality singing, excellent choreography, I have seen many musicals over the years and this rates very highly. There is a 40ft articulated lorry full of scenery and props to accompany the production, from costumes to courtroom.

Be prepared for lots of almost real fake snow at the end, wonder what the theatre cleaner makes of it!

 

Harry Pope is Eastbourne’s sight-seeing guide, with summer walks as well as private one on request www.harrythewalker.com He also talks to local clubs and societies on a variety of topics www.harrythetalker.com He writes on www.harrythewriter.com

 

 

 

About Harry Pope

Very few writers earn more than £10,000 annually. Harry is one of the poorer ones. He is no longer middle-aged, as he knows no-one who is getting on for 140. Literary success has come with an attempt at maturity – failed both – but marital stability with Pam has more than compensated. He is an accomplished speaker, talking on a variety of topics, including how not to run a hotel, buried secrets, and what’s it worth. See Harry The Talker. He has five published books, see Harry The Writer. He is Eastbourne’s only licensed sight-seeing guide see Harry The Walker. He has a daily blog see Harry The Blogger. The only site not purchased is www.harrytheeverything.com but that might come, who knows. He was a London funeral director for many years, then started Cheam Limousines in 1990, selling some thirteen years later. Arriving in Eastbourne in the Summer of 2003, Harry and Pam first bought a small guest house, then a large hotel, which proved to be disastrous because of their business partnership with a moron from California. He now walks, and talks, sometimes both at the same time.