Stage & Screen

Theatre Review - Holiday Inn

Theatre Review - Holiday Inn

Photo Credits - Slider - Kristi Frank as Linda Mason with the ensemble of Holiday Inn. Photo by Emily Cooper. 

Above - Kyle Golemba as Ted Hanover, Kristi Frank as Linda Mason, Kyle Blair as Jim Hardy (foreground) and the ensemble of Holiday Inn. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Did Christmas start early this year or was it just me? No sooner than the ghosts and goblins came down, the stores were filled with Christmas trees, ornaments and gift sets. The Christmas season is always the most beautiful in Niagara-On-The-Lake and this year, the Shaw Festival has something for all those whose hearts warm up during the holidays.

A movie classic that is shown only during the holiday season has literally come alive on stage at the Festival Theatre on Queen Street, NOTL. Holiday Inn is a sparkling adaptation of the 1942 movie featuring one of Bing Crosby’s most famous songs “White Christmas”.

The show whose music and lyrics feature Irving Berlin, is based on the Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge book. Directed by Kate Hening, Holiday Inn is exactly what you’d expect from a Christmas Classic. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s extremely well done.

Jim Hardy (Kyle Blair) and Lila Dixon (Kimberly Rampersad) star as a nightclub act. After their last performance, Jim proposes and Lila says yes! His plan, to retire from show business on a farm in Connecticut. That doesn’t last long when fellow performer Ted Hanover (Kyle Golemba), and his smarmy agent Danny (Jay Turvey) convince Lila to continue in the show for the next six weeks while Jim heads to the farm.

The farm turns out to be more of a project than Jim first thought and it’s no surprise that when Lila arrives she returns the ring and heads back to the stage with Ted. One of the most impressive characters in the show is Louise (Jenny L Wright) who is Jim’s farm hand and well-intentioned wing woman. It isn’t long before Louise has turned Jim’s head in the direction of Linda, played by Shaw’s newest leading lady Kristi Frank, and the pair set out to try and save the farm, which co-incidentally was owned by her family before he purchased it.

What’s great about this show is its big production values in terms of song and dance numbers. A stellar ensemble cast brings song after song to life including such memorable hits such as “Happy Holidays”, “Easter Parade” and “Cheek to Cheek” all with the dynamic choreography by Allison Plamondon. The costumes designed by Judith Bowdon are beautiful, colourful and creative. The set is large and minimalist which only helps to showcase the dance numbers fully.

I can’t fail to mention the live accompaniment of Paul Sportelli and his orchestra which brings everything together.

Add tickets to Holiday Inn to your Christmas List and visit the website to secure your seat, but don’t wait, Holiday Inn is only on til Dec. 22.

Also don’t forget to spend some time with Mr. Scrooge and Dicken’s A Christmas Carol now showing at the Royal George.

By Jenifer Cass

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