Miracle on 34th Street (Birmingham)
Kieran Johnson reviews Miracle on 34th Street at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre
What better way to start the Christmas season than with festive favourite Miracle on 34th Street? Making its UK stage debut, the tale following Kris Kringle and his time convincing the staff of New York's iconic Macy's department store (and ultimately a courtroom) that he is the genuine Santa Claus sounds like a promising Christmas treat.
While the story is heart-warming and perfect for Christmas, neither the set nor props sparkle at all. The limited amount of set pieces were dragged around by the cast and looked flimsy and disjointed, taking the magic away from some key scenes. Santa's Christmas parade entrance was a complete anti-climax and the inside of Macy's left a whole lot to the imagination. A little more work on the design of the production would have lead to a whole auditorium full of excited children; instead only the older ones could follow the story completely.
Meredith Wilson's lyrics and music hold the show together with their festive hooks and well-known tunes; a saviour of the show. The cast perform well and do their best to execute the limited choreography. Kudos must be given to the incredible young talent of Poppy Carter, who has a terrifically strong vocal as sweet and innocent Susan, in particular during Arm In Arm and My Wish.
If you're looking for something to entertain the children this festive season then Miracle on 34th Street is an ideal night out; just don't expect anything too magical and you won't be disappointed.
Miracle on 34th Street plays at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre through Saturday 7 December.