Make yourself comfortable with Kearney’s Crane River Theater production ‘A Christmas Story’ | Local news







The old man (Bryce Jensen) listens to Ralphie (Braeden Wall) say a forbidden word while changing the tire of the family car in this scene from “A Christmas Story” presented by Crane River Theater. The show opens today and continues through Wednesday at the Merryman Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $ 25 to $ 35.


Rick Brown, Yard Light Media


On occasion, Butters moves away from his role as a narrator and takes on the personality of a character in the story. Butters accomplishes this with ease. Her performance ties the vignettes together into a cohesive narrative that both comforts and disturbs as only a well-crafted tradition can.

Look for a beautifully designed set that saves changes in storytelling. Placing the majority of the sets towards the back of the Merryman stage gives the impression that it separates the audience from the action, but it gives Barth, as the director, a lot of space and flexibility to promote flashbacks and introduce other parts such as an automobile with room for four passengers.

“A Christmas Story” includes strong ensemble performances.

Braeden Wall, as young Ralphie, displays memorable timing in his role, knowing when to beat in a comedic track or when to shoot a scene in the most poignant moments. The kids in the cast help bring the story to life thanks to the great work of Jonas Brandt, Wyatt Rich, Oswald Ferebee, Liam Kvasnicka, Uriah Lacey, Calla Ripp, Hannah Torres, Ava Benner, Ella Means, Fredrick Harbols, Evan Aguilar, Graham Shoemaker, Hana Butters, Emma Butters and Kaylee Wall. Due to busy vacation schedules, Barth had to double some roles.

In the role of the old man, Bryce Jensen takes the role note by note, keeping his characterizations true to the ideal of a father figure, albeit slightly flawed. The scenes he plays with Ralphie’s mother, played by Stacey Wood, display a certain warmth and affection that transcends years and memories of parents struggling to keep the magic of Christmas alive.

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