Point Loma Playhouse San Diego California
November19-December 5, 2021
By Valerie Milano
San Diego, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/19/21 – “She’s at the Library” by Dori Salois offers a different look at the Christmas Classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” What was Mary’s life without George, and what happens when he shows up?
She’s living with Violet, fighting Potter, trying to keep Bedford Falls from turning into Potterville; and then George arrives, claiming she’s his wife and mother to their four children.
This fun feminist take on Mary’s life depicts a woman’s point of view. The creative plot twist to the old holiday movie, is a delightfully clever reimagining of Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” offering a great alternate take on life and love in a world where women take on societal institutions, challenging male dominance in life choices and civic engagement.
All the references and characters are there; just seen through a different lens. This time it is Mary, the lawyer, ready to take on Potter. Potter offers her a lucrative job in a New York law firm to distract her from a campaign against him. Though she is tempted, just like George in the original movie, she refuses.
There is a fun reference to Ruth Bader Ginsberg that got a burst of spontaneous applause and shout-outs from the audience. When George Bailey shows up, the audience is seemingly divided in their loyalty.
The two romantic leads are charming together. George (the perfectly cast handsome and adroit Pete Zanko) ardently woos Mary, trying to convince her she is his wife. Mary, the fierce spinster with a tender heart, is brought to life by the incredibly talented and gifted Carly Salway, with the added bonus of a heavenly voice any time Christmas carols are sung in a scene. Ms. Salway is destined for great things.
The third romantic lead, the jealous brothel owner and rival for Mary’s affections, is played by the sexy, beautiful Kirra Adams. With her Vogue-like model looks and focused intensity, she brings a deep vulnerability to the character.
Jody Catlin is perfect as Ma Bailey, and Brian Evans demonstrates pure villainy with just the right touch of insecurity.
The brothel girls are all charming, each offering a clearly delineated presentation of a “working girl”. A special nod to Charmaine’s cheerleader antics (enthusiastically played by Emanuelle Love). Kudos to choreographer Nanci Hunter’s ironic take on the film’s “Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight”. In this play, ”Come Out” has some added significance.
Director Jerry Pilato shepherds this Christmas play with skill and grace. He manages a cast of ten actors, all moving smoothly. Nothing feels crowded or rushed. The quick scene changes are actually a joy to watch. He incorporates the brothel girls and Ma Bailey singing Christmas carols as they set the pieces. With Jay Maloney’s deft lighting, he is able to isolate areas on this small stage for each scene effectively. From bedroom, to brothel, to Potter’s office, to a library, to the final denouement at the bridge, Pilato keeps the pace moving.
So, in the end which life will Mary choose? Well, you will have to come see the play to find out.
I heartily recommend it.
Tickets at www.pointlomaplayhouse.com
Point Loma Playhouse is located at
3035 Talbot, San Diego, Ca 92106