Review: It Happened One Christmas Eve.

Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:00 am Source: MACARONI KID - Poughkeepsie
'It Happened One Christmas Eve' is a stocking-full of Christmas classics. A musical for this most wonderful time of the year.

I was invited to the opening night of 'It Happened One Christmas Eve' at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. This theatre combines dinner and a show in one great venue. Here you can enjoy a meal followed by a musical without having to leave your dinner seat. 

'It Happened One Christmas Eve' is a sweeping story set over 65 years, following the life of a baby left on a Brooklyn doorstep and the lives of the six people who decide to bring her up. And of course this being a Christmas musical there are plenty of Christmas songs. In fact, amazingly, every single song in the show is Christmas-themed, a carol or a Christmas-classic! Everything from "Away in a Manger" to "Sleigh Ride", with some lesser-known numbers like "Tell Santy I Live in a Shanty" and "Christmas in Killarney".  

With only 9 actors this is a small but strong cast. Every one of them had an excellent singing voice and gave wonderfully rounded performances. I thought the singing was at its best during the duets, with some beautifully arranged harmonies. 

The comedy was provided by the excellent double act of Romanian refugees Serge and Sigmund, played by Jayson Elliott and Nick Gaswirth. Their interaction and relationship were brilliantly funny, making them like a Romanian Laurel and Hardy.

Dinner runs from 6.15pm until 8pm when the show starts. Guests can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails or an additional starter, or stick to the set menu of fresh rolls and corn muffins, salad, entree, dessert, and tea or coffee. For the main course there is plenty to choose from, including vegetarian and children options. The menu even comes with suggested wines to compliment the meal you've chosen. 

It was an excellent evening out. But be warned: if you're looking for a winter-warmer, a feel-good two hours of fireside singalongs this might not be the right show for you. It is certainly funny and upbeat. But it's not all Christmas cheer. It deals with difficult issues: death, loneliness, abandonment, poverty, fear of failure. This musical shows us that Christmas is not always plain sailing. 
That said, the overall impression is definitely uplifting. It's a reminder that Christmas is not about capitalist consumerism. It's about the people around us. And that seems like a Christmas message worth remembering. 

'It Happened One Christmas Eve' runs until December 28th.