BENJAMIN K. PAPLHAM, ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
Trying to review a play whose cast consists of mainly young children is kind of unfair. Should I really hold the Herdmans to the same critical standards as, say, “Macbeth”? Probably not. I doubt micro-analyzing why a four-year old is staring at the ceiling of the theatre is the point of the play.
On Nov. 19-22, Evergreen Theatre presented its annual production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The play is the classic story of a community church that gets overrun by the local neighborhood delinquents, the Herdmans, who bully their way into playing the main roles of the Christmas Pageant. The church is scared to death that the Herdman children will destroy the performance, but are surprised and touched when things turn out for the best.
There isn’t much to say negatively about “Christmas Pageant.” Like I said, it’s a play where you’re to suppose to remove your college-student analytical cap and just enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Even if it was peculiar to feel the Christmas spirit before the Thanksgiving turkey has had a chance to roast in the oven. Anything critical I have to comment on is rather nitpicky, like the fact the Bradleys only had three chairs at their dinner table when there are four in the family. Also, I probably would have enjoyed the play more if I personally knew somebody in the performance, a friend or family member. Going solo meant that I didn’t feel as invested as I could have been, and I would have found the children to be even more adorable. Not that I didn’t find the little kids cute, I did. But I think you all know what I mean.
Overall, I did enjoy myself at the play. I’m a little bit over-sentimental when it comes to a choir full of kids dressed in angel costumes singing Christmas music. The kids had a lot of energy and I could tell that they were having fun acting onstage. I was especially entertained at the scene when the Herdmans were throwing Baby Jesus around (and no, I’m not a sadist; it was a doll) and I also appreciated the moment when Imogene Herdman is alone onstage and has a compassionate moment with the Jesus doll. The only thing that would have made the performance perfect is if I had gone outside after it ended and found a flurry of snow falling majestically in the night. Instead it was just bitterly cold.
But I believe “The Best Christmas Pageant” is worth remembering for next year to help get you in the Christmas mood. But if you’d rather wait until December, up next for Evergreen is “Miracle on 34th Street” from Dec. 11-13 and 17-19