Review: Simon Kenton performs ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever'

When recalling the biblical account of the birth of Christ, people typically do not imagine wise men gifting a ham, baby powder and laundry detergent to the fatigued but content Mary and Joseph. Although this may seem out of place, this kind act of practicality is actually central to the message of both the story of the birth of Christ and also the play, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”  Performed by Simon Kenton High School students, this endearing and charming production reminds its audience of how just as a poor infant in a manger can be misjudged, so can everyday people as well.

Based on the book of the same name, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” was written by Barbara Robinson. This play is narrated by Beth Bradley, a girl whose mother is running the annual Christmas pageant at their church. Although this pageant is done every year, this year the eyes of the entire community watched its progression with dismal support because of the unexpected inclusion of the rowdy and menacing Herdman children.  While many obstacles occur along the way, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” has a surprise finale which reminds its audience not to judge a book by its cover.

The ensembles of this play were made memorable and character development was aided by the strong chemistry between actors. Throughout the play, but especially in the final act, there was an unfailing positive energy which welcomed the audience into the goofy and warm world of the play. Sean Gardner, who performed the role of Bob Bradley, was very much vocally and physically in character as a loving but often absentminded father. In addition, he had strong comedic timing. Beth Bradley, performed by Destiny Purdue, showed confidence when breaking the fourth wall. 

Jason Beck and Keith Berwanger showed talent in their versatility under the technical element of lights.  Consistent Spot lights allowed the audience to understand the focus of certain scenes.  Although a couple light cues appeared late, the scene changes were swift which kept the audience emerged in the plot. Lastly, the world of the play was made real by the well-constructed set under Nick Vanderhoof.

Simon Kenton High School pulled off an entrancing production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Between the many laughs and nods of an engaged audience, it is clear that Simon Kenton also left its audience with an enduring message. Although people like the Herdman siblings are unfamiliar to many who judge them, it is clear that people share a common trait of wanting to be cared for. This story sends a message reminding people that uniqueness should not be shunned but welcomed for the great lessons it has to offer.

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