Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing The Gift of the Magi at The Player's Ring on Marcy Street. The Player's Ring is a black-box arena, home to a very intimate viewing experience, but don't let the size fool you. Throughout the year, they prove themselves a fixture in the Seacoast arts scene and a fearless powerhouse, producing many locally written scripts and never shying from the shows that get audiences buzzing and debating. Last night they demonstrated their flexibility with a musical version of a classic Christmas tale, The Gift of the Magi.
If you've never read the short story by O. Henry, you're missing out. It's a classic tale with a surprise ending- a reminder of the gifts of love and hope and why we come together to celebrate them every year. I work at Pickwick's Mercantile, so I know a lot about finding the perfect gift, but there is no substitute for something given with love.
The Player's Ring was the perfect platform for the story. The small theater, an ode to a Portsmouth of yore, put you right in the middle of the unfolding excitement. The music was catchy and well-executed, there was much humming on the way out the door, and the two leads, with their lovely voices, definitely did it justice. I appreciated the honesty of the production- it stuck to a simple set, simple costuming, and relied on the emotional investment of cast and crew to bring the heartache and triumph to life. They did so beautifully- my compliments to director, Deb Barry.
|Emily Karel (Della) and Ben Bagley (James)|
bring the love-birds to life!
At $15 a ticket and $12 for seniors and students, I recommend that you bring the whole family. It makes for a great date night and is completely appropriate for the gaggle of little ones, as well. There are six more opportunities to go down to the Players Ring to jump-start the holiday season with The Gift of the Magi. I will be very surprised if you do not come away with your heart thoroughly warmed.