It's a Wonderful Life

Elana Chan

December is the festive time of the year when feel-good holiday shows can appropriately warm up your cold feet and wrap you in the spirit of the season, even if they are a tad corny.  Pacific Theatre presents This Wonderful Life, a one-actor adaptation of the 1946 black-and-white movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  CJSF’s Elana Chan attended the December 5, 2007 performance at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre.

Fascinated, amused, and enchanted are some of the many ways to describe the audience of This Wonderful Life.  Playwright Steve Murray adapted the American holiday classic movie, but instead of a script with a full cast, he had a single character recounting the story, with imaginative sound effects and delightful impersonation of over two dozens characters, from Mr. Porter, the ancient, Scrooge-type villain, to the tiny girl Zuzu.  Actor Dan Amos breathes life into these characters using different voices and simple gestures, while exuding infectious excitement at the same time.  As the storyteller, Amos unfolds the entire plot with a few commentaries and wisecracks along the way.  It is unpredictably entertaining even for someone who has never seen the original movie.

Murray believes that the original story has become the United States’ Christmas Carol. 

Directed by Oscar-winning director Frank Capra, the movie that inspired This Wonderful Life gained popularity as a North American holiday classic when various television networks broadcasted it in the 1950s.  The straightforward plot not only embodies values of hard work and benevolence, but also tackles harder issues such as attempted suicide and alcoholism.  The audience can be spectator to a whole range of emotions and surprises.

This Wonderful Life played at the Pacific Theatre from November 29 until December 29, 2007.  This is 75 minutes of laughter, holiday spirit, and even a little romance.  You might be curious to see just how it is that a lone actor can perform a love scene!  Visit for more information.

  • Posted on: 18 March 2016
  • By: Administrator