Twin Beach Players’ The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Mayhem meets knee-slapping comedy when the Herdmans collide head-on with the Christmas story.
Barbara Robinson’s Christmas alternative — it’s no Christmas Carol — is a good choice for Twin Beach Players: Both have to do with a small town where everybody has a part to play in making Christmas.
The fictional small town’s kids have grown weary of wearing bed sheets to play the same role and speak the same lines year after year in the annual church pageant. Boredom yields to horror when the Herdmans come to town.
The dirty half-dozen Herdman kids bully their way into the cast and hijack the pageant. With no idea what’s going on — they don’t even know the Christmas story — they make up a script as they go along.
As we watch, the pageant turns into a huge, hysterical mess.
Forty-six of the town of North Beach’s real-life children, from preschoolers to teens, are inspired, whether as angels, shepherds or Herdmans — who’ve stolen the key parts of Mary, Joseph, Herod and the Wise Men.
In this community of theater, parents leave the audience to take the stage alongside their kids. Ten adults stay on-stage, enjoying their roles as avidly as the kids do.
The audience is enchanted, moved from tears to side-splitting laughter in no longer than it takes to blink.
The theater — normally a Boys and Girls Club gym — is decorated for the holidays. The young cast’s singing of classic carols — including “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Away in a Manger,” “We Three Kings” and “Silent Night” — open our hearts. Recorded Christmas music continues during the short intermission.
Playing F & Sa 7pm, Su 3pm thru Dec. 15 at the North Beach Boys and Girls Club. $12 w/discounts: 410-286-1890; www.twinbeachplayers.com.