GEORGE BAILEY COMES TO SIERRA MADRE
If you want to know who I’m talking about, it’s George Bailey, the husband in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the Frank Capra movie of the 40’s. The town isBedfordFalls. And if you venture over to Sierra Madre to see a stage rendition of the film at the Sierra Madre Playhouse you would swear you were back inBedfordFallsas this town could not be any closer of a resemblance than to this fabled town in the movie. You could even call Sierra Madre the town that time forgot..
The show at the Play House, adapted from the film by James W. Rodgers and directed by Christina Harris, stays close to the spirit of the movie. Quite a bit has been excised from the movie, either from the time differential or the limitations of the stage but regardless, the thrust of the story remains.
Scott Harris is up to the task of bringing the character George Bailey to life, with enough nuances in his interpretation to effectively portray the trials and tribulations of this man as he tries to cope with what he has to go through running a small business when initially it seems that it’s more than he can handle.
And the main person standing in George’s way is Henry Potter, wonderfully played by Jack Kandel who has all the virtues of the “Man You Love to Hate” so effectively played the film by Lionel Barrymore.
One other stand out is Clarence Odbody, the ‘angel’ who is transported to earth to come to George’s rescue in his hour of need. Karl Maschek emotes this part to perfection.
These three are really all you need to bring out the essence of the story and they make it all happen, with the necessary help of all those around them. The story ostensibly takes place on Christmas Eve and what an outstanding ode to this time of year that is.
Equally worthy of mention is the quite adequate set design by Don Bergmann. Christina Harris can be credited by creating the sound design which explored all the possibilities of augmenting this Christmas tale to it’s fullest extent.
The show will be on through December 23, with performances Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sundays at 2:30,
Reservations at 626.355.4318. www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.