Three and a half stars
Buck Creek Players;directed By Ken Kern
You’ve got to admire a community troupe that creates theater in a former tennis facility (think airplane hangar) in a pasture next to an interstate. From its surprisingly plush interior, the Buck Creek Players present Pat Cook’s family-friendly Dad’s Christmas Miracle, in which a newspaper editor relives his favorite Christmas memory: the year of the go-cart. Admonished by his former teacher Mrs. McLaughlin to “stick to the facts,” the grown Murphy reverts to his sixth-grade self, prefacing one scene with “It wasn’t my fault” and ending another with “I have to go to the bathroom.” The young actors who play the child Connor (Sammy Munro), his friends (Blake Brown and Aaron Acher), teen siblings (Sarah Brown, Aaron Goins) and teen friend (Hannah Shelton) make the play. They wear the childhood bickering, knock-knock jokes and 1950s attire well. Dan Denniston’s meticulous set, including a black and white television console running vintage hits, splits Connor’s memories neatly between his middle-class home and Mrs. McLaughlin’s orderly classroom. It is nostalgia, all sweet and no bitter, more often dear than hilarious or insightful, of a fictitious past when dad knew best, but mom knew everything. Through Dec. 16; 317-862-2270.