The Rosebud Opera House stage has been transformed into old New York City as O.Henry’s classic Christmas tale “The Gifts of the Magi” has now officially opened.
Opening night was Friday, Nov. 4, and despite the bad weather and treacherous highway conditions that evening, the show opened up to a nearly packed house.
“The Gifts of the Magi” follows the young, newly married couple Jim and Della Dillingham, who are out of work and broke during Christmas. The pair can barely afford to keep their one-room apartment, let alone purchase holiday gifts for one another.
The story explores the challenges that Jim (Aaron Krogman) and Della (Cassia Schramm) face as they secretly secure the ideal Christmas gift for each other. Along the way they meet the jovial Soapy (Mike Thiessen), a homeless man who wants nothing more than the warmth and security of a jail cell for Christmas, and Willy (Natalie Gauthier), a street newspaper vendor who sees deeper than the headlines she sells.
Rosebud Theatre has never let me down in terms of the quality of acting, however the choice story for this year’s holiday season admittedly fell a little flat for me.
“The Gifts of the Magi” is a classic holiday tale, and it is very sweet, but I left feeling like the story could have been told in a few minutes rather than in a two hour musical.
This is not to say that I was disappointed by the quality of the acting, I simply felt that their abilities could have been put to better use.
My only other criticism would be a light jab at Schramm’s wig. Della’s hair is the centre of attention in some important scenes, and it needed to be a little more convincing, as it was supposed to be one of her finest qualities.
On a more positive note, Krogman and Schramm were flawless in the parts they were given as Jim and Della, as they had fantastic chemistry on stage. Krogman had me believing that he really was a penniless New Yorker, and Schramm was perfect as his loving wife.
Natalie Gauthier was colorful and upbeat as the news vendor and would-be narrator. Mike Thiessen, Joel Stephanson and Laura Gillespie served perfectly as the comic-relief. The trio had the audience, myself included, in stitches more times than I could count.
Rosebud Theatre never fails to pay attention to detail, and they succeeded again in providing a functional and stunning set that really made you believe you were in New York. The wardrobe team had much to be proud of as well, as the character’s threads matched every scene. City Her (Laura Gillespie) in particular wore some fabulous hats that will not soon be forgotten.
The use of lighting and a single key on the piano was enough to create a touching moment in a few of the scenes. The play’s score wasn’t exactly hummable and I could have done without one of two of the songs, but they fit into each scene and always established the right atmosphere.
The play’s ending, which I won’t spoil, did pull things together nicely to finish off the performance.
For anyone who loves Rosebud Theatre and a classic Christmas tale, “The Gifts of the Magi” is worth braving the cold for this holiday season.
Rosebud’s holiday production will run from Nov. 4 until Dec. 23. For tickets and show times call tel:1-800-267-7553″1-800-267-7553 or visit www.rosebudtheatre.com