In its sixth presentation, Charlotte Moore’s interpretation of this Dylan Thomas classic arrives with great spirit but overstuffed and often saccharine, something untrue of marvelous readings by Thomas himself and the television adaptation with Denholm Elliott. It’s more a concert with parentheses of the author’s text which suffers for being liberally cut up even in single long sentences. Vocals are lush and enjoyable, but don’t go expecting to bask in Thomas’ iconic language.
Moore musically sets text to music with skill – intermittent with time honored carols. Her own songs fit the mood and era, sounding as traditional as those selections with which we’re familiar. Staging is varied and aesthetically pleasing. There’s just too much eye brow raising, gesture and chirp to sweep us away with the storytelling. That something so intimate should be played with actors looking over our heads instead of into our eyes is also an issue. Connection is missed.
Kylie Kuioka, Ali Ewoldt, Dan Macke, Jay Aubrey Jones, Ashley Robinson, and Kerry Conte
Kerry Conte and Ali Ewoldt have beautiful voices, Conte particularly catching the classic tone of the piece in her acting. Ashley Robinson, who resembles Dylan Thomas, delivers the author’s vivid descriptions with personality and poetic heft.
Jay Aubrey Jones’ baritone adds mossy gravitas to the proceedings. Youngsters Kylie Kuioka and Dan Macke have been over directed. Kuioka is cute (and sings well) while Macke is an out and out ham.
John Bell and David Hancock Turner offer simply wonderful vocal arrangements. Welsh songs are especially welcome. At the piano, Turner seamlessly and evocatively adds supports behind the dialogue.
John Lee Beatty’s unfussy set of lit trees and ballroom chairs work perfectly as do David Toser’s deep red and green velvet dress clothes.
Photos by Carol Rosegg
Opening: Dan Macke, Ali Ewoldt, Jay Aubrey Jones, Ashley Robinson, and Kerry Conte
A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Adapted and Directed by Charlotte Moore
Music Supervision John Bell
Music Direction David Hancock Turner
Irish Repertory Theatre
132 West 22nd Street
Through December 31, 2022