I raise a glass of mulled wine to the Liverpool Playhouse for offering an alternative piece of theatre while panto dominates our other Merseyside theatres.

Choice is always welcome at this time of the year.

If anyone can make an adaptation of a much-loved film work on stage then award-winning Gemma Bodinetz will give it her best shot.

Her version of Fiddler on the Roof remains a masterclass in dramatic ingenuity.

Wirral Globe:

Kevin Harvey, Liam Tobin and Caitlin Berry in Miracle on 34th Street. (Picture: Robert Day)

Here Gemma, with musical director George Francis and choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves, has taken Meredith Willson's modern morality story and created a scaled-down stage version with a strong cinematic feel.

Kriss Kringle (Tim Parker surprisingly sporting dark hair atop his white beard) says he is Santa Claus.

Who are we mortal folk to disagree?

Enter the corporate and commercial spoil sports. Please, no booing.

And so Santa goes to court and it's not about a Claus in his contract.

Wirral Globe:

(Picture: Robert Day)

But there's a whole story to unwrap before we eventually get to the decorated tree and snow climax.

Gemma has put together a ten-strong cast in the re-telling of this American tale made famous in the 1947 film and its inferior re-makes.

The Broadway version was called Here's Love.

And love is indeed a central theme.

The confident, extremely hard-working crew take on this feel good Christmas challenge: Doris Walker (Caitlin Berry) and her daughter Susan (Maddison Thew on press night) convey all the trademarks of small and big screen relationships with convincing US accents.

Wirral Globe:

(Picture: Robert Day)

And Stuart Reid as an ex-Army, next door neighbour love interest looks the real deal in his all-American suit.

There's the usually top- notch performance from Liam Tobin (R.H. Macy amongst others) and versatile Mark Rice-Oxley also playing a variety of roles.

It is a well-paced show but some scenes are decidedly hit and miss.

The Macy Day Parade is where your imagination is a supporting star.

Wirral Globe:

Nicole Deon, Liam Tobin & Romi Hyland-Rylands (Picture: Robert Day)

Olivia Du Monceau's costumes certainly capture the period very well in a Norman Rockwell way.

Yet I feel her stylish two-tier silver and gold 'gift box' set lacks warmth - some upbeat lighting could add colour and a smattering of magic dust wouldn't go amiss.

Musically there is only one song that stands the test of time and that is a standard you are currently hearing on most radio stations and department stores - the jaunty It's Beginning to took A Lot Like Christmas which stands out from the rather unforgettable numbers that don't actually carry the narrative.

If you want to see a show that's not full of innuendoes, song sheets, ugly sisters and princes throwing balls at the drop of a hat then 34th Street could be just the place to park your virtual sleigh.

Hark! A Hollywood' styled Christmas - 3 stars!

On until January 4 - for tickets call the box office on 0151 709 4776 or visit https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/