Though the pace is a tad slow and the novice voices don’t always ring clear, the adults are wonderful and the kids as cute as they can be. On the tall side, there’s Sherman Fracher as Ralphie’s giddy mother, sturdy Mark Kincaid as his blithering, contest-playing, turkey-pinching dad and the delightful LaLa Cochran as his teacher. On the smaller side, Ian L’Abate is perfect as Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, who plays with his food, hides under the sofa and has an accident on Santa. As town tough Scut Farkas, Whit Weinmann is excellent, while Eric Broner (as unlucky Flick) is another standout. Too bad that the focus on the older Ralph more or less prevents Driskell from cutting loose.
Like the film, the play has a timeless, lost-in-a-snow-globe look. Kat Conley's Lazy Susan-style set revolves to reveal the family’s living room, Ralphie’s classroom and Santa’s department-store haunt. It’s a clever but not especially elegant concept. Sydney Roberts’ many-layered costumes provide their own riff on the extreme Midwestern climate but aren’t necessarily frozen in the period, which is fine.
If only some of the community's excitement about this little gem could be bottled, the show would pop like a BB gun and shine like Mr. Parker’s beloved “leg lamp.” For now, it’s a warm and welcome diversion from the mainstream.
“A Christmas Story”
Through Dec. 26. $15-$50. Georgia Shakespeare, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-264-0020, gashakespeare.org.
Bottom line: Classic makes journey to stage without shooting out an eye.