Theatre Review: ‘A Little House Christmas’ at Adventure Theatre MTC

A Little House Christmas opened this weekend at Adventure Theatre MTC, and it is a perfect time of year for this touching family story.  Based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, adapted by James DeVita, and directed by Serge Seiden. A Little House Christmas is a welcome antidote to a consumer Christmas.

Wilder was a young girl in the late 1800s and was born in a log cabin in Wisconsin.  In 1874, she and her family moved from Wisconsin to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.  This town became the setting for the 1974-1982 television show based on her books: Little House on the Prairie.

The cast of ‘A Little House Christmas.’ Photo by Bruce Douglas.

A Little House Christmas joins the Ingalls family eight days before Christmas and invites us into the small log cabin home.  Mary (played by a sweet Maya Brettell) and Laura (a lovely Katie Littleton) are getting ready to receive guests for dinner that night.  Their mother (Hyla Matthews) and father (Robbie Gay), who are of course called “Ma” and “Pa,” also help with the preparations.  Pa worries about the approaching storm, because if the creak floods, Santa Clause won’t be able to make it over the creek to deliver Mary and Laura’s Christmas gifts.

The guests arrive and among them are Pa’s brother George (Jonathan Feuer), who is just back from the war and has not spoken for months, Mrs. Oleson (Stephanie Svec) and her daughter Nellie (Caroline Coleman), and a family friend Mr. Edwards (Danny Pushkin).  They all have a wonderful time telling stories and dancing, but as hard as Laura tries, she can’t get her Uncle George to talk.

…a welcome antidote to a consumer Christmas.

As the days pass and the rain doesn’t stop, Mary and Laura must face the possibility that Santa might not make it over the flooded creek.  As Christmas Day comes, the Ingalls clan comes together and finds the true meaning of Christmas. They discover that the best presents to give and get are the ones that cost nothing at all.

Jonathan Feuer and Katie Littleton. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

Jake Ewonus did a fabulous job with the set.  The Ingalls’ home is open to the audience and very welcoming.  Although I had a seat pretty far back in the theatre, I felt like an extended member of the Ingalls family.  Kelsey Hunt, the costume designer, really captured the time period and made some beautiful dresses.

Overall, the entire production team and the actors understand what is so special about Laura Ingalls Wilder books: that most of the time, simple is better, and family is always the best.

Running Time:  One hour with no intermission.

A Little House Christmas is playing through December 31, 2012 at Adventure Theatre MTC, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, Maryland.  For tickets call 301-634-2270 or click here.