As if you have not realized it, simply stroll down the aisles of Walgreen’s or spy the home on Waugh that is festooned in multicolored vacation lights, and you will know the season of Christmas is quick upon us. Subsequent yr, I swear, there might be no pumpkins on any entrance porch throughout Halloween, solely inflatable Santas and Charlie Browns.
Christmas arrives sooner yearly, and the Houston theater season is not any exception. Each Most important Road Theater and Levels Repertory Theatre opened their vacation productions this final weekend (November 10), so Christmas is formally right here. It isn’t even Thanksgiving. Perhaps we will blame Harvey for the preternatural shove towards celebration.
I, for one, relish the push. I would like peace on earth and good will towards males, and no matter will get us there sooner moderately than later is all proper by me.
I am unsure Levels’ A Midnight Clear: A Musical Story of Christmas will get us anyplace. This world premiere by inventive director Kenn McLaughlin (path and ebook) and David Nehls (unique music and lyrics) is like some unholy amalgam of M. Night time Shyamalan and The Singing Nun.
Exceptionally produced and superbly sung, this semi-jukebox musical includes conventional carols (“Silent Night time,” “What Youngster Is This,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “I Noticed Three Ships”) and Nehls’ anodyne Broadway tunes (“A Joyful Christmas Noise,” “St. Christopher’s Prayer,” “Eyes of a Wandering Stranger”). The combination between hallowed and new is not as bizarre because it sounds, it is the story that is odd and leaves us scratching our head.
I understand the unique Christmas story, a part of the “biggest story ever informed,” is replete with miracle and thriller, however A Midnight Clear is muddled and mirthless.
As Sister Bernadette, Caroline Johnson, final yr’s Houston Theater Award-profitable Greatest Actress for Levels’ Luna Gale, does every thing inside her theatrical energy to offer character and a comedy by way of-line. “I am the enjoyable one,” she pronounces, however what can she do when thrust towards this bizarre Twilight Zone episode? Within the glow of candlelight, her compelling “What’s Meant to Be,” the story of her life, is very heartbreaking, however to no avail. It is simply one other plot level.
Not one of many actors manages to beat a narrative that asserts its intentions midway via. In true conscience, I can’t reveal the reveal, that is like freely giving the ending of Psycho, however what sort of supernatural Christmas message is that this? What are the authors making an attempt to say?
The entire affair is padded and pumped, operating two hours-plus with intermission. Has anybody provided a pink pencil to the creators, who appear to be in love with each minute? It takes valuable stage minutes to get into the story, and, as soon as there, there are empty areas that cry to be excised. One, amongst many, is when the three sisters obtain a radio message from a lady in dire straits, stranded in a blizzard. Do they rush outdoors to search for her? No. First, they sing, then they appear.