It’s a Wonderful Mississippi Mills Life!

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Posted on: November 30, 2017

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After great success with last year’s Christmas parody based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Puppets Up! Presents is back!  This year’s seasonal show is loosely based on Frank Capra’s beloved film It’s a Wonderful Life. A slightly naughty adaptation of this classic Christmas tale tells the story of a man who has sacrificed for others all his life. In the pit of despair when his world seems about to come crashing down, George Bailey mulls whether the whole world would be better off if he’d never been born. His guardian angel Clarence gives him a rare gift: the chance to see the impact he has on the world in ways he can never imagine.

Back to share in the spirit of the production is David Frisch as the single “live” actor who plays the story’s central character, George Bailey.  Frisch returns after playing Scrooge in last year’s successful Puppets Up! production of “A Christmas Carol.”  All of the other characters, designed and created by Puppets Up! Artistic Director Noreen Young, are played by seven puppeteers who animate the 48 puppet likenesses of local Almonte based figures.  Taking some time from his CBC radio shows, Ed Lawrence joins the talented cast as the angel Clarence, animated by Young and voiced by Lawrence himself.

“It’s so much fun to do this, to play opposite puppets,” Frisch says. “The puppeteers are amazing – they make the puppets come alive.”

Under the inspired direction of Catherine Clark, the cast brings writer Allan Martin’s hilarious and creative parody to life.

“While I create the foundation of the script, the early rehearsals lead to a lot of improvising among the actors,” Martin says.  “I have a welcoming attitude about improv. My feeling is: If it makes the show better, let’s try it.”

It’s at that point that Clark steps in to craft the final version of the show that audiences will see.

“My goal is to create a seamless experience for the audience, so that they believe David is indeed George Bailey,” explains Clark, “and is part of this crazy puppet world where Noreen Young’s creations live.  It’s a unique experience as a director, as well as for the entire cast.”

All of the puppets and Frisch will be wearing exquisite vintage attire designed and created by noted local designer Ingrid Hamster Harris, who enjoys the experience as a break from her other work in New York, Toronto and Ottawa.

“The costumes have to be funny and in line with what the characters are saying, commented Hamster Harris. “What the audience sees has to help make the show come alive.”

Young says she hopes to establish the Puppets Up! show as a Christmas tradition for Mississippi Mills, Lanark County, and the Ottawa Valley.

“Last year’s production of A Christmas Carol was a roaring success, selling out every seat before it opened,” Young says, “and we look forward to again entertaining audiences in the true spirit of Christmas!”

There are four delightful shows available this year to ensure everyone will have the chance to join in on the holiday fun.  Show times are; Friday, December 15th at 7:30pm – Saturday, December 16th at 2:30pm & 7:30pm and Sunday, December 17th at 2:30pm.  Tickets are available at Baker Bob’s in Almonte, in Pakenham at The Pakenham General Store, The Blossom Shop in Carleton Place, and online at puppetsup.ca. Get your tickets quickly because they are selling fast! If you have any questions regarding the show please contact  Sarah Montgomery at 613-697-7075 or by email at sarah.montgomery@rogers.com.

Puppets Up Presents looks forward to seeing you there – come and take part in the holiday fun!