Onstage in Bedford’s presentation of The Daughter of St. Nicholas is a real head-scratcher. This play-within-a-play is a Russian-accented children’s Christmas fable performed by a bickering troupe that we see and hear in the wings while the title piece is clumsily holding forth at center stage. It is a bit like Noises Off, except that that comedy is actually funny and makes some sort of sense.
The actors in this production directed by Seth Johnston gamely go about their business in this odd bit of theater, which centers on Santa Claus’ daughter finding the reindeer her father needs to deliver his toys.
Their accents are good. There is some first-rate costuming by Erika Durham, and the set by David Hance is also well done. But if there is any point to the script by Linda Daugherty, it’s hard to find.
There is an extremely modest amount of humor to be milked from the infighting and ineptitude of the cast trying to perform the seasonal title fable. But there is not enough entertainment value in either the centerpiece or the backstage shenanigans buzzing around it to entertain a child or an adult.
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One of the few good things that can be said about this show is that it is short, running just under an hour — and it is only that long due to an inexplicable 15-minute intermission.
Onstage obviously wanted to do a Christmas show that was not one of the usual suspects, and that is commendable. But in choosing this work, it has simply wasted everyone’s time and talents.