Love it or loathe it…no matter what you do (or what you celebrate) the Holidays are going to happen whether you like it or not. The Day Before Christmas, playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, opens the door on a festival season that many will be able to relate to.
Alex, played by Jennifer Clement, is a multi-tasking caterer/event organizer by trade, who is determined to hold the perfect family Christmas each and every year. Narrating the story by breaking the 4th wall, Alex welcomes the audience into her impeccable home (creatively dressed by set designer Drew Facey) on the day before Christmas and goes back in time to show us how they got to the this point.
With her children growing up and business booming, family and personal pressures start to take their toll causing cracks to start to show in Alex’s perfectly crafted facade. The tight cast portray a realistic family dynamic with gruff and lovable father Alan (Andrew Wheeler) balancing life between his wife and children; self-absorbed 17 year old Brodie (Julie Leung) and adolescent Max (Daren Dyhengco). Brother-in-law Keith exasperates Alan as he constantly Skypes into the scene, cleverly projected above the audience along with the ubiquitous mobile phone screen captures.
Writers Stacey Kaser and Alison Kelly along with director Chelsea Haberlin have crafted a tale that most, especially moms, will relate to, as Alex states “…every woman feels like this at Christmas”. Angst and drama, along with a healthy dose of comedy, create a recipe like a Alex’s favourite Christmas cake. You can feel a love for the Holiday and while it’s cliched to say, the meaning of Christmas, at least for this family, wins out. In reality you could probably substitute any tradition-filled family holiday for Christmas with a similar result.
The Day Before Christmas plays until the day before Christmas, December 24th at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.