During a season of predictable holiday theater fare, Foothill Theatre Company usually offers up an alternative gift to Dickens, and this year is no exception, with their production of Little Women.
Though not Christmassy in particular, Little Women is holiday in theme, if you consider the story revolves around warmth and importance of family and friends. This is Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story of the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, each with distinct personalities. But the most distinctive character is Jo, the tomboy and persistent writer of romantic stories, and that’s the voice FTC’s Sands Hall captures in her stage adaptation.
FTC brings together a charming cast, all who work well with each other to create a real familial atmosphere. Standout performances include Megan Pearl Smith as Jo, Jenni Stephenson as Amy and Cole Alexander Smith as Laurie. Though the actors are much older than their original characters, the casting is understandable, since the story follows the girls through their adult lives.
Which leads us to the missteps of this production. Though Hall has shortened her original adaptation, it still needs cuts for holiday family fare. Hall also needs to linger on scenes instead of skimming through lives. The staging—large panels with distracting illustrations rather than cozy, intimate parlor sets—is also a strange choice considering the play is housed in the Victorian-era Nevada Theatre.
However, the warm story of a loving family remains, a testament to what holiday plays are all about.