“A Christmas Story” is one of the most familiar of holiday movies, and annual TV viewings rival or surpass those of classics “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
It’s “A Christmas Story” that comes to life for the next two weekends at the Town and Country Players theater in Buckingham, offering a cheerful start to the winter holiday season.
The movie was made into a play in 2000, following the plot lines of the beloved movie, but offering more than you find in the screen version.
It is still the story of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, whose sole wish for Christmas is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Playing Ralphie are youngster Will Trymbiski as the 9-year-old version, and Andy McPhee in the adult role of Ralphie, who serves as the show’s narrator.
This is a show where all the players clearly enjoy their roles and go the extra mile. Standout performances include Alyssa Moore as Ralphie’s mother and Kevin Palardy as his father. These experienced performers are easily convincing as circa 1940s parents who love their children and worry that if they give him an air rifle Ralphie will shoot his eye out.
Also impressive are the child performers, starting with Trymbiski and including Mason Ambs as his brother Randy, and Logan Ambs and Sean Spencer Semanoff as his pals Flick and Schwartz. Hamming it up and clearly enjoying himself in the role of bully Scut Farkas is Phillip Schneller, while Olivia Incudine is the attractively flirtatious Esther Jane Alberry.
Veteran performer Valerie Sharper is a delight in the role of Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields, who also is worried he will shoot his eye out.
A side plot involves Ralphie’s father winning an award of a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg wearing a fishnet stocking. The lamp comes to life when the show’s talented troupe of girls performs the “leg lamp dance,” dressed like the tasseled lamp. This delightful number is one of the extras you won’t find in the movie.
“A Christmas Story” finishes out the main stage season for Town and Country, with only the three-day Christmas show at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown left on this year’s calendar.
“A Christmas Story” is a pleasant, charming show with lots of energy and holiday music playing in the background to help get you into the season of joy. It’s also a lovely reminder of a time before video games dominated the Christmas markets and young boys wanted to grow up to be cowboys who saved people in danger.
For tickets and information, visit townandcountryplayers.org.