6th November 2023
With the festive season now in full swing, Miracle on 34th Street has arrived at the Liverpool Playhouse. Based on the awarding winning 1947 film, this Christmas story is retold in the form of a musical.
Set in New York, the production follows the lives of Susan Walker and her mother, Doris. Doris is Macy’s special events director and is responsible for the Thanksgiving Day parade. After the hired ‘Father Christmas’ turns up drunk, a mysterious white-bearded man saves the day.
The story unfolds as this strange gentleman, named Kris Kringle, claims that he is indeed the real Santa Claus. Despite encouraging Susan not to believe in Santa, Doris develops a soft spot for Kris.
Eventually his identity claims get him into trouble. With help from new lawyer Fred Gaily, the Walkers desperately try to save Kris Kringle. Along the journey each, character finds themselves asking the question, is Santa Claus real?
With a small but talented cast, this production is perfect for a festive family day out. The live orchestra brings heart to each musical number. Such hits include, ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’, among lesser known songs.
A particularly charming duet takes place between Susan and Santa, demonstrating the rising talent in Liverpool. Maddison Thew, who plays Susan, is just one of the younger actors in the show.
Four children perform in the production each night. This shows how Miracle on 34th Street embodies the true meaning of the Christmas spirit, and the importance of family. Making adorable additions to the cast, the little ones were dressed in various costumes. A personal favourite of mine were the reindeer onesies.
The ‘adult’ actors were equally entertaining, as they impressively played a range of characters. Through the various parts, the cast demonstrated spectacular singing, dancing and comedic skills.
Actor, Tim Parker makes a convincing Santa, whilst the cynical Doris Walker is played by Caitlin Berry. Doris’ love interest Fred Gaily, is brought to life by Stuart Reid. He makes up the last member of the core trio.
Each character was well cast, and the actors performed their roles exceptionally. However, Berry particularly stands out. Throughout the performance she showcased perfect characterisation, in addition to her outstanding vocal range.
In the words of Kris Kringle, “Faith is believing in something when our common-sense tells us not to.” Test your faith in Christmas magic by taking a trip down to the Liverpool Playhouse!
As a seasonal show it is only on stage in Liverpool until Saturday 4 January, so catch it while yule can!
Check out our other reviews of must-see productions in Liverpool!