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Transplanted Taproot presents Wonderful staged radio play
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Transplanted Taproot presents Wonderful staged radio play

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

It's a Wonderful Life:
A Live Radio Play
Taproot Theatre
(State One Theater,
North Seattle
Community College)
Through December 30


Taproot Theatre was going to present a world-premiere holiday offering this month, but due to a horrendous fire that took out part of their theater, they had to revamp and remount a slightly easier-to-manage show. It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a sweetly done homage to old-style radio programs, complete with a sound effects guy (cutting an apple on a plate sounds the same as cutting meat) and radio commercials for "KTTC" (K Taproot Theatre Company).

This is a faithful retelling of the classic Christmas tale of Clarence, the angel waiting for his wings, coming to rescue George from committing suicide by showing him how much George's life has meant to others. Directed by Karen Lund, the six solid cast members - headed by Grant Goodeve as George, with Jesse Notehelfer, Alex Robertson, Mark Lund, Eric Riedmann and Candace Vance - sing and read their way merrily through the tale.

Taproot was able to mount the production at the Stage One Theater at North Seattle Community College. It's a very nice space, with wide seat aisles and a friendly environment. A simple, serviceable set by Mark Lund includes the radio "on air" signs, and the required "applause" light. The cast sings some carols before they go "on air" and harmonize deftly.

You can close your eyes and hear what it would sound like if you were tucked cozily into your couch at home in the 1940s, with the fire blazing and the radio on, sipping eggnog and listening to the story. The struggle of George against the mean old banker Potter never gets old or tired. It may even be more applicable today than other years. It's pretty easy to identify with the "regular" guys and get angry with mean old Potter. George's dismay when Clarence lets him see life as it would have happened if George had never been born gives each of us a moment to think about our own lives and what might have been if we had never been born. Maybe one or two of the nice things we've done in our lives have had the same kind of positive ripple effect that George's have.

Goodeve displays real relief at being back in George's own time and body, bringing the play to a satisfying end. It's fun to watch the sound effects being created. The actors seem happy to be on the radio and presenting this show to you. As disruptive and difficult as recent events have been for the theater, you'd never know about the tumult unless you got told about it or saw it on the news. Let's hope that their old home is fixed up quickly so they can go back to presenting well-done theatrical productions such as these in their rightful place.

For more information, go to www.taproottheatre.org or call 206-781-9707.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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