Off Broadway Reviews
In this season's incarnation Moore has enlisted the charismatic Nicholas Barasch (She Loves Me) to play Thomas and he's a charmer. With his fresh-scrubbed face and flaming red hair, he's ideally cast as a wide-eyed boy reminiscing about an idyllic, childhood Christmas. Barasch's enthusiasm never cloys and he's a pleasure to watch navigate Thomas's story over the course of 75 intermission-less minutes. Barasch is joined on stage by Ashley Robinson (Tom & Jack), Dewey Caddell (Father & Smoky), Naomi Louisa O'Connell (Mother), Polly McKie (Aunty Hannah) and Margaret Dudasik (Mrs. Prothero) and everyone is terrific. They sing almost 20 songs and carols, and it's a pleasure to hear singers in an intimate space singing unamplified. O'Connell, in particular, has a classically trained soprano that's ravishing in the Rep's tiny theatre.
Key to the success of this A Child's Christmas in Wales is the sensitive piano accompaniment provided by musical director John Bell. Bell plays with a light and delicate touch that signals he understands that less is frequently more with this genre of music. He never covers the singers or overwhelms the song with unnecessary flourishes. His arrangements are gorgeous. It's worth noting Bell is joined occasionally by Dudasik, who complements several numbers with lovely and lively violin playing. It's also worth noting that director Moore has written the music and lyrics for several songs in the score, two of which, "Take My Hand, Tomorrow's Christmas" and "Walking in the Snow" are quite accomplished.
Blessed with a lush and festive set courtesy of James Morgan, the Irish Rep's A Child's Christmas in Wales is the perfect antidote for your inner Grinch. Do yourself a favor and drop in for some sentimentality served in style.
A Child's Christmas in Wales