Anyone who has liked our Facebook or follows us on Twitter knows we at the Retro Revival were tuned in last night to the…interesting choices made in regards to the live version of “A Christmas Story”. This was an interesting study in how to not integrate musical numbers into a screenplay or live renditions. The tone of the story was strange while expecting some snarky or dark themes tied into it.
Anyone who has liked our Facebook or follows us on Twitter knows we at the retro revival were tuned in last night to the…interesting choices made in regards to the live version of “A Christmas Story”. This was an interesting study in how to not integrate musical numbers into a screenplay or live renditions. The tone of the story was strange while expecting some snarky or dark themes tied into the Christmas themes in the live show.
My biggest issues are with the overall presentation because there were at least 4 unnecessary musical numbers, most notably the musical numbers introducing the infamous Santa scene, and the “C+/You’ll shoot your eye out” number which drove the point like a jackhammer driving a stake into an already obvious plot point, and the number following Ralphie beating his bully up, transitioning out of the scene in such a clumsy manner that it was, in my opinion, harmful to the flow of the show. This seems to be an issue of the transition between media formats, the original movie that is the definitive version of this intellectual property was made into a musical, and that musical was brought to the screen last night, I was not myself aware of this formatting that occurred. the transition from movie to musical seems to have been the source of the musical numbers that broke realism and at times the 4th wall. I had an issue with the number done on Xmas eve where the children convene in the street and do a dance number with large candy cane props, it felt as if it had wasted a great expository moment for Ralphie and his brother to have via dialogue.
This live show was treated like a Broadway production and was far too clean in the outside scenes, not much of a patina on the buildings and this was a very idealized and whitewashed version of a post-war and post-depression America. I also had issues with the future Ralphie interacting with the past environment, it’s something that makes the experience inherently disassociating as a viewer.
Among the main cast, I found Mia Rudolph to be the MVP of the live show, the children performances were perfectly fine, and the father character had a very extreme shift in character, while this change was catalyzed by the breaking of the leg lamp, it was still incredibly abrupt and felt unearned.
Harpie’s notes; The adaptation was, in my opinion, a betrayal of the spirit of the original film, possibly resulting at least to some extent from the film to musical adaptation before the re-adaptation to the live TV format. Despite the fact that it’s delivery was a heaping pile of garbage and awkward lack of fluidity, the underlying themes of political incorrectness and the value of sharing that sense of deviance with the public resonated in a powerful and somewhat careless fashion. It touches base on the lack of appreciation given toward the housewife stereotype and the female agenda, the sense of relatability we have toward blunt and honest political incorrectness, and the schoolyard social structure. What damaged the ability for these messages to be received was how the rendition was produced. Sets and costume were on point but unfortunately, the lack of fluid 40s authenticity and logistical choppiness took away from the plot and original intention.