With Jack and the Beanstalk on at the Grand Opera House, The Elves and the Shoemaker showing at The Mac, Beauty and the Beast at the Waterfront, and Alice The Musical on in The Lyric, when I was invited along to see It’s a Wonderful Wee Christmas at the Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey, I thought it might be another panto/family-friendly play.
When I looked into it, however, I realised that this was an adult comedy bringing a unique Belfast twist to the classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
The play is based around Geordie, the manager of a credit union on the Falls Road and takes place on Christmas Eve.
Geordie is an ordinary bloke, well-respected and well-liked in the community, who would do anything for anyone. But he believes he is a failure and that he has let those closest to him down, not least his wife, whom he promised the world.
Enter a sassy angel Cara who, in order to gain ‘her wings’, must convince Geordie his life is worth living. Can this unconventional angel do it? We’re transported back to happier (and sad times) in Geordie’s past, including watching the beginning of his relationship with his loyal wife Mary.
The play is very easy to watch and funny (including a reference to a Christmas hit ‘Yer da sells Avon at Christmas’ on the local radio station), but it’s not just a comedy full of one-liners and groan-worthy Belfast references; it has a very serious message too.
The play touches on the themes of poverty, depression and suicide. This is covered very well without feeling in poor taste.
The play is written by Caroline Curran (angel Cara) and Julie Maxwell, (Mary), the writers of last year’s comedy The Nightshift Before Christmas. It’s a charming play with a wholly important message and I really enjoyed the evening.
It’s a Wonderful Wee Christmas is on at the Theatre at the Mill until 31st December.