Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal
Magical goose captures Christmas spirit Ethan West, Jason McCurry and Amanda McLaln try to convince Martha (the goose) she won't be eaten while Aunt Rhody and Uncle Pete, played by Christine Dill and Ken Rich, look forward to a delicious Christmas goose dinner. By CAROLE HESTER for The Journal You only have until Sunday to experience the magic of "The Christmas Goose" — a family holiday musical fantasy. Reminiscent in the second act of that old favorite, "Nutcracker," the play contains all the elements of Christmas: Santa coming down the chimney, toys that come to Me and fairies. The shows, at Ukiah Playhouse, are tonight at 8 p.m., Friday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at the Playhouse box office (462-9226) or The Mendocino Book Company and Coffee Tea 'n Spice. The storyline begins as all good stories do; "Once upon a time..." Four children whose parents died are now living with their aunt and uncle in Northern California. As Christmas approaches, they are in the woods when they happen upon a fairy sorceress and her attendants. The children decide to steal the sorceress' magic wand and perform a little wish fulfillment of their own. But things don't turn out as they expect. Before realizing what he has done, Billy rums his sister Martha into a goose — and can't change her back. Intrigue and suspense await the audience to find out if Martha will be the Christmas dinner. Written by Paulette Arnold and June Bonacich, "The Christmas Goose" is reminiscent of that annual Christmas favorite, "Nutcracker." "Goose" has toys that come to life, Santa coming down the chimney, fairies and dancing ballerinas. The second act of the musical fantasy moved along much more briskly than the first, which made viewing more enjoyable. The play, two-hours long, including intermission, could have been shortened by the coordination between the musicians and the stage hands. Several scenes were set and ready and yet the musicians continued playing interminably. This would have made for a tighter presentation. Children soloists, while helped along with the aid of amplification, could have enunciated more clearly. On the whole, the music, written by June Bonacich, had charm and relevance to the play. Two favorites of the audience and the reviewer were "Oh Baby, I Can Talk" and "The Goose Is Getting Fat." The musicians — June Bonacich, Jeff Killebrew, Bob Eisenhauer and Patrick Kelly — were a cohesive and supportive unit and performed well. Choreography, created by Leslie Saxon West and Jacquie Lolich, was especially effective in "The March of the Toy Soldiers," "Pretty Packages," and "Peppermint Candy." But the encitre scene with the "Rag Doll Rag" made the entire audience smile and giggle. The surprise "Goose Finale" capped off the fantasy and enchanted the audience, . young and old alike. One of the many charms of the play is a lovely puppet created by Tinker's Coin Puppet Players, with design inspiration from Rainbow Hill. Martha is played by Rianne Heffel and Sarah Johnson; Christopher is portrayed by Ethan West and Isaiah Music Ayala; Danielle is performed by Amanda McLain and Hillary Bauman; Billy also has two youngsters playing the part, Jason McCurry and Michael Riemenschneider. Sarah Johnson and Rianne Heffel play Ann; Sarah Laughrey plays Laura; Kalia Glassey portrays Cindy; Willy Hose is on stage as Jamie; Jeff is played by Seth Smith and Randy is portrayed by Matt Evans.