The Radio Show: Christmas Classics is a stylized reading of four holiday stories: The Gift of the Magi, George’s Christmas Present, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and The Little Prince.
Should you see it?
Most of the time closing your eyes during a live performance is rude but in the case of Plosive Productions’ annual radio shows, it’s a magical treat that brings you back in time. Complete with a cappella carols, retro commercial breaks, smooth-voiced announcers, animated narration, and sound effects, The Radio Show: Christmas Classics is about as close to the golden age of radio dramas as we’re likely to get. It really has to be heard to be believed!
But fear not: if you open your eyes during the show, you won’t be disappointed. Carefully coiffed and clad in elegant attire, the cast are radio stars from head to toe and keep us entertained with their expressive faces and “off air” interactions. The Gladstone Sisters singing trio look as good as they sound and are perfectly in place behind vintage-style microphones. Everything from the sets to the scripts fit the time period wonderfully without being boring or old-fashioned.
The first act dragged on a little with the slow paced O. Henry story of sacrifice, generosity, and love coupled with a Lucille Ball comedy that missed the mark for me. I found that Michelle LeBlanc’s performance didn’t live up to the frenzy and bewildered energy of Ms. Ball’s original character, and what could have been a loveable goof came across a bit too ditzy for my taste. I did, however, enjoy Katie Bunting’s portrayal of the sympathetic maid.
The second act of The Radio Show is where the cast really shone. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is so familiar as to risk being boring but John Koensgen’s voice was well suited to the task of keeping us engaged and the disruptive antics of foley artist Jonah Lerner had us everyone in stitches throughout the short poem.
The highlight of the evening was final story deftly translated from French and adapted by David Whiteley. Here Michelle LeBlanc shines as our innocent and loveable hero while the supporting characters of the flower, fox, snake, and pilot are all beautifully presented by the rest of the cast. The story was charming and the acting was just superb.
The radio show at The Gladstone has become a beloved holiday tradition for me so I was not surprised to leave with a tune on my lips and a heart full of cheer. My only regret is that this review is being shared too late to help ticket sales but I do hope you’ll consider making the radio show a family tradition in your home come 2015.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Which was your favorite tale – or was there one you thought was missing? Did you sing along or were you a silent Scrooge? Was this your first Radio Show? Let us know in the comments section below!