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Play Review: Players de Noc offers two holiday productions

By Megan Frazer

For the Daily Press

ESCANABA — Players de Noc is kicking off the Christmas season with not one, but two absolutely adorable productions.

The first act of this Christmas-filled night is ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ directed by Karin Beveridge. Charlie Brown’s Christmas season just does not feel very bright. It isn’t until his friends gather together to sing around his tiny Christmas tree that they understand the true meaning of Christmas. Right off the bat, the colorful set pieces highlighted with dark black outlines transport you into the cartoon we all know and love. What’s even more impressive than the set are the costumes, which were all made by hand. Their bright colors popped on the stage and made the play come to life. Not that these kids needed any help bringing life to the stage. Each role was well cast and acted out to perfection. I especially loved Amelia Chouinard’s interpretation of Sally’s sweet and innocent attitude, as well as Katelyn Rexford stomping off of the stage in true Lucy fashion. Wherever I looked on stage, I found hilarious body language, facial expressions, reactions, and fun dance moves. Each actor was doing their job of entertaining the audience; they all have a great future ahead of them. Enough about the acting though, this is a musical afterall! Phil Lynch, Eli Bender, and Dave Potvin made for an impressive band. The children were fortunate to work with such great musicians, and the kids really knocked the singing out of the park. I felt as if I were inside that adorable cartoon, filled with nostalgia and the Christmas Spirit.

The second act of the night is the production ‘It’s a Wonderful Neverland’ directed by Sam Komay. Sam shared with me that they were looking for a show to compliment “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when they came across this lesser known play. Following the plot of the quintessential Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Peter Pan sets foot on a journey with Stinkerbell through what Neverland would look like had he never been there. Our beloved Peter Pan characters have grown up and life on Neverland has gone topsy turvy. What struck me most about this play is just how hilarious it is! It is packed with one-liners and clever jokes, all of which were delivered by the actors as if they were seasoned comedians. I was impressed by Emma Nelson’s portrayal of Stinkerbell, her stage presence and humor were on point. I also thought Joshua Gartland made a perfect Captain Hook, embodying the character right down to his light British accent and intimidating body language. As with the previous act, the costumes and set are just perfectly detailed and made the different roles and scenes shine. I had no idea what I should expect walking into this play, but I was delighted by its message and the delivery. We are reminded that we each play an important role in life. We all matter, belong, and have a purpose. We never know just how fortunate we are to be living the life we do.

These two plays make for the perfect family holiday outing and will surely put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart. Visit the Bonifas Arts Center Theater for ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Neverland’ running December 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on December 4. Tickets are available online at playerdenoc.org or at the box office. Merry Christmas Peter Pan and Charlie Brown!

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