Virginia Rep’s production of This Wonderful Life epitomizes perfection. This gem of a play is given its own set of wings by the incredibly talented Scott Wichmann who provides a master class in acting from start to finish.
The one-man play, based on Frank Capra’s iconic film, It’s A Wonderful Life, takes us through the beloved movie at breakneck speed. With a run-time of just over an hour and ten minutes, kids ten and up and seniors might just find this version more to their liking than the movie – or at least appreciate its brevity. Wichmann truly shines, showing his genius by acting out every part in the capsulized plot.
He does so with such ease and finesse that you honestly feel like you’re watching everyone from the great Jimmy Stewart who plays kindhearted George Bailey to Henry Travers, the angel Clarence who helps George see the good in his life and in doing so gains his wings.
Wichmann captures the heart and soul of each character in the film, including females. He has perfected every nuance, every mannerism, every gesture. He takes you through all the emotions. You’ll laugh – even Wichmann cracks himself up sometimes – and you’ll feel that familiar lump in your throat when George, who has sunk to depths of depression, ultimately realizes that life is worth living.
Director John Moon gives Wichmann the freedom to let go on stage and that’s exactly what Wichmann does. At times, the intimate setting of Hanover Tavern makes you feel like he’s acting this entire show out just for you. He makes it personal. He makes it fun. He makes it wonderful.
The shorter run time, a familiar plot, and no intermission make the show perfect for the whole family. I can recommend it for kids ten and up. Truly a gift, this is one family show you won’t want to miss this holiday season. This Wonderful Life runs through January 10 at Virginia Rep’s Hanover Tavern.
Visit Virginia Rep for showtimes and tickets.