Christmas Belles: A Turkey for Christmas

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Categories: Community Theatre

christmasbellesslide_02

Ottawa Little Theatre is serving turkey for Christmas. Over-stuffed with silliness and garnished with an uninteresting, minimalist set and irritating set changes, Christmas Belles by Nicholas Hope, Jessie Jones and Jamie Wooten (all, according to their bios from the “pre-Wal-Mart South”), this festive theatrical meal was accompanied by a rush of walkouts at opening night intermission.

The first issue is the storyline — if that’s not too strong a word for this collection of nonsense about three trailer-trash Texan sisters trying to mount a Christmas pageant at the local tabernacle. The second is that the only chance that Christmas Belles might have even a slight ring of truth is to mount a production so far over the top that it is obvious from the outset that it is intended to be a parody.

But that is not what Chris Cottrell, in his directing debut for OLT, does. According to his program note, he finds the play “chock-full of the many messages and themes that the spirit of Christmas embodies.”

Heaven help any of us who take the spirit of the season from the three sisters at the centre of this weak farce.

The cast, headed by strong performances from Sharron McGuirl as the catty Geneva and Sarah Hearn as the forceful Honey Ray/pageant director, give it their all, sadly to little avail. This material is too weak to be rescued. Maybe, if the criminal element had used her gun to put the turkey out of its misery and shorten the show…..

Christmas Belles continue to ring to December 14, 2013.

(Note: A general word about play types. It is sometimes mistakenly assumed that comedy is easier to handle than straight plays. I believe that difficult comedies fare best in the hands of very experienced directors.

Christmas Belles

By Nicholas Hope, Jessie Jones and Jamie Wooten

Ottawa Little Theatre

Director: Chris Cottrell

Set: Mike Heffernan

Lighting: David Magladry

Sound: Lindsay Wilson

Costumes: Peggy Laverty

Cast:

Geneva Musgrave…………………………………….Sharron McGuirl

Honey Rae Futrelle……………………………………Sarah hearn

Gina Jo Dubberly……………………………………..Kennedy Ryan

John Curtis Buntner…………………………………..Brent Rouleau

Twink Furtrelle……………………………………….Nisha Toomey

Dub Dubberly…………………………………………Penu Chalykoff

Frankie Futrelle Dubberly…………………………….Dana Truelove

Rhonda Lynn Lampley……………………………….Mary Beth Pongrac

Justin Waverly………………………………………..Christopher Hoeft

Raynerd Chisum………………………………………Kenny Hayes

Patsy Price…………………


Past Reviews