The Christmas ham might be devoured and the presents all unwrapped, but there is still time to extend the holiday feeling with Irish Repertory Theatre’s musical A Christmas Memory.
Under artistic director Charlotte Moore’s guidance, this story, based mostly on an autobiographical writing by Truman Capote, has been carefully and lovingingly staged by a superb ensemble. Set in the Alabama in the 1930s, A Christmas Memory portrays the unique and touching tales of 7 year old Buddy (Silvano Spagnuolo) and his much older distant cousin, Sook Faulk (Alice Ripley). Aside from making fruitcake for friends, strangers, and dignitaries like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, there is little to do in the small country town, and yet the two manage to tap into their rebellious sides, much to the chagrin of Sook’s siblings, Seabon (Samuel Cohen) and Jennie (Nancy Hess), who believe that the elder cousin is a poor influence on the impressionable youth.
The narrator for the evening is the adult Buddy (Ashley Robinson), Now a successful big city journalist, he has returned to the country home where he was raised for the purpose of nostalgia, remembrance, and closure. s has a folksy Waltons-esque slash Meet Me In St. Louis feel in its level of corniness.
The first act consists mainly of charming but unsubsutainal songs by Larry Grossman (music) and Carol Hall (lyrics), but the second act grabs at the heart and achieves exactly the right amount of poignancy and depth in both the story and the music
A Christmas Carol is often the fall back show for theater companies during the month of December, but many would be wise to take their cue from Irish Repertory by making this beautiful little show a holiday traditon. If they stage it as well as the current New York version, audiences can expect a surprisingly magical gift.
A Christmas Memory now plays at the DR2 Theatre (103 East 15th Street). For more information, visit http://www.irishrep.org/christmasmemory.html