The Little Matchstick Girl
The cold night falls on Manhattan's Five Points and the immigrant Irish community struggles to make ends meet at the turn of the century- fighters, promoters, barmaids, businessmen, and street urchins ply their trades and a lone girl tries to sell her matchsticks to any one that wanders by. The original story is a Christmas classic, a heart wrenching story about closing our hearts and the terrible price others may pay. Adapted for the stage by local playwright; Marjorie Lowry and directed by Kelsey Posey, The Matchstick Girl is currently playing at the 425 Carmel Avenue in Marina. And although the story itself is fairly bare bones, Lowry takes advantage of the streamlined nature of the tale and uses it to frame a story about intersecting lives during the early days of the last Century. Urchins struggle with their position in life, a fight promoter mixes his hand in several shady deals, a business man tries to get some last minute shopping done for his children, immigrants work to make a new life for themselves, and so on, so forth- the cast is fairly large and incorporates a number of meaningful vignettes into the full narrative.
And, okay, let me be honest- I misplaced my program. And this is the part where I would be talking about the cast, but I don’t have any names to put to the characters- save for the few people I’ve previously seen or worked with on other projects. And every performance deserves praise, not just the few people I’m familiar with. So what would you like me to do here, Faceless Reader? The villains were dastardly villainous, the children were appropriately adorable, the downtrodden were trodden, and so on so forth. It was a fantastic cast that seemed to be having fun on that stage, as if they were having the time of their lives, which is always fantastic to watch and feel from the audience. I honestly loved this cast, though I can't resist mentioning the heart melting antics of the little Pick Pocket as she nibbles a stolen cookie. She'd make Grumpy Cat smile.
Did I mention the music, too?
Nearly every scene featured a Holiday Standard sung by the performers, some in chorus and others with strong and heart-felt solo performances to piano accompaniment. This gave the show another strong backbone to fall upon as the cast doubled as a carol troupe and the only thing missing was a warm cup of cocoa with marshmallow. In particular, the duet between grandmother and child brought a few tears to my eyes.
4.5 out of 5.