Cappies review ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever'

Nathan Carras

William Mason High School

This hilarious and festive show was enthusiastically brought to life by the relentlessly energetic students of Simon Kenton High School. Some memorable performances included Jordan Dillon as the rough-and-tumble, yet somehow endearing, Gladys Herdman, and Nicole Ziege as the frazzled part-time director and full-time mother, Grace. Sean Gardner played the father figure extremely well, with his bathrobe, newspaper and, of course, the reluctance to go to family functions. All of the actors were well-casted and unique.

Beth Bradley (Destiny Purdue) is a girl who, along with her brother Charlie (Nolan Warning) and nearly everyone else in the town, is afraid of the Herdmans, the mean and rude siblings who steal, smoke and swear

Hannah Wagner

Taylor High School

The story was told by Beth Bradley, played by Destiny Purdue, and was driven by Nicole Ziege, who played Grace Bradley. Both women truly embodied their characters and were consistent in their actions and reactions. Likewise, the gentlemen of the show, Nolon Warning and Sean Gardner who played Charlie Bradley and Bob Bradley respectively, sold the show with their character development and overall hilarity.

The Herdmans were played out brilliantly, and at any given moment, you could see that they sincerely believed in the person they were acting as. Gladys Herdman, played by Jordan Dillion, was fantastic from beginning to end. She came in strong and made the Angel of the Lord fly for the first time.

Iain Applebee

Purcell Marian High School

While some actors certainly stand out, what makes this show strong is the way the cast works together. The Herdmans adroitly captured both the original malice of their characters, and their later tenderness, all the while playing off each other. The ensemble of children worked well with the Herdmans for much of the comedy of the show.

Altogether, the company had a consistently solid energy, excellent vocal clarity and many kept the audience interested. Those who sang did a nice job, especially considering this was a play, not a musical. While a few characters seemed bored, the others had enough energy to cover for everyone.

Macartney Greer

Colerain High School

Narrating the entire play was the daughter of said newbie director, Beth Bradley played by Destiny Purdue. With a good grip on dry delivery packed full of as much wisdom as a kid could offer, Purdue made a great narrator for the play. It was evident that she had a liveliness about her that made her pensive comments pack a punch that resonated throughout the show. In a sense, she was the light of the situation that really did get the point across of what celebrating Christmas truly means; that it does not matter how the angels halos looked, or how Mary held baby Jesus , but that there was a moment of peace, and in the Christian faith, a blessing that was bestowed on everyone.

Becky Coombs

Taylor High School

Leading the pageant and the production was Grace Bradley, played by Nicole Ziege. Ziege anchored the show with Grace, portraying her as a caring yet high-strung mother.  It was easy to read her character; the stress added to her persona due to the onslaught of pageant preparations was evident.

One standout cameo role was Bob Bradley, played by Sean Gardner. Gardner had great comedic timing, often leaving the audience in stitches. However, he was still able to effectively provide a fatherly approach to his character. Through their childish antics and physical comedy, the Herdmans made for an amusing ensemble.

Kelly Markle

Colerain High School

The cast was diverse with ages ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Junior Destiny Purdue, as Beth Bradley, narrated the story with teenage consistency and illustrated well the development of her character as Beth’s eyes were opened. Junior Nicole Ziege (Mrs. Grace Bradley) played the maternal role of the family with poise and notable experience with the stage. As the father of the Bradley family, Sean Gardner upheld a comedic demeanor throughout the production and had a stage presence that kept the audience chuckling.

Allison Dierling

Loveland High School

Bob Bradley played by Sean Gardner provides a fresh comical relief. With his line “Does that mean I have to go?” Gardner has no problem drawing a few laughs. Charlie Bradley (played by Nolon Warning) is the silly comic, and provided funny jokes and comical faces which were key for much needed laughs. Gladys Herdman (played by Jordan Dillon) gives the sassy comedy. When she was not scaring the other characters she was making them laugh with her witty comments or her random sayings. All of the Herdmans provided comic relief throughout the play.

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