A Christmas Story is one of America’s favorite Christmas movies. Lovers of the movie, which tells the story of young Ralphie and his quest to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, will not be disappointed by the play version presented by collaborative efforts from Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, Broadway Series South, and North Carolina Theatre.
Young Langdon Ogburn is a perfect Ralphie. Not only does he look the part, but he and the rest of the cast benefit from the costuming expertise of Meredith Scott. Scott creates outfits that are exact replicas of the ones found in the film. The set, designed by Chris Bernier, is also impressive and is believable as a 1930s middle class home. It’s the cast, though, that really makes this show worth a watch. Bill Yates, Jr. displays excellent comic timing as The Old Man, Ralphie’s father. He sticks close to the original film portrayal but also adds his own quirks in just the right amounts. Andrea Schulz Twiss is cute as a button as Ralphie’s mother, and Alexa Robertson’s Esther Jane, Ralphie’s love interest, comes close to stealing the show with acting skills far beyond her years. T. Phillip Caudle, who plays the adult Ralphie and the story’s narrator, is the one exception. He stumbles over his lines and suffers from poor staging choices. At one point, Caudle stands in front of stage right, gesturing wildly and fully blocking the view of many audience members.
Aside from this minor glitch, however, the show offers lots of laughs and is fun for viewers of all ages. The little world created here is every bit as believable and endearing as the one in the film, perhaps even more so. For lovers of the classic and newcomers to the story alike, this is one Christmas play that shouldn’t be missed.