This holiday season, if you are looking to get out of the cold and liven up your holiday spirit, you’ll have to visit Havana Theatre on the Drive. For a limited time showing now until December 16, 2018, Naked Goddess Productions presents to you, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a lively and comedic playwright directed by multiple Jessie Award nominated director Tamara McCarthy and based on Barbara Robinson’s 1972 enormously popular and bestselling novel. This Christmas classic has previously been adapted into a television movie and musical. This production surprised me on several aspects, notably the young professional actors, although small in size, their voices were loud and created large smiles and laughter among the audience.
Without providing spoilers or teasers, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Christmas pageant. The play starts with narrations by the charming 11 year-old Charlotte Clayton, who plays Beth Bradley. She introduces the characters and how the worst Christmas pageant was salvaged by her mother, Grace Bradley, played by talented Melissa Oei. Furthermore, Beth’s brother, Charlie Bradley, played by Milan Gill, tricks and entices school bullies, the six Herdman children, who are notably “the worst kids in the history of the world,” to participate in the church Christmas pageant, causing comedic chaos for Grace. Luckily, Grace is supported by her dynamic and witty husband Bob Bradley, played by Eric Regimbald, who plays the role perfectly with just the right amount of dad jokes.
Without knowing the premises of the play or have read the novel, I found myself enjoying this production very much, anticipating the best for Grace, and hoping the six Herdman children would just be a tad less rebellious. The narration by Beth, organised and successfully carried the play til the end. The touching finale of the play almost led me to shed a tear. With the close proximity of the stage, I felt submerged in the action, feeling the laughter, chaos, and energy of this heartwarming story. My heart jumped for joy when the Christmas Pageant became a success after all!
The intimate and unique Havana Theater environment reminded me of a small local theater I visited while I was in London, UK. I was surprised by the sound quality of the room, which projected the voices well. The set, although small, was a perfect fit for the theme of the play. The angel choir was magical and reminded me of my own childhood experience, participating in the annual church pageant and singing the same melodies that I had once sang. My heart was full of Christmas cheer once I left. Make sure to get a seat in the center of the stage for the best view and make this 60 minute nostalgic production part of your date night or holiday activity!
Dec 6 – Dec 16, 7:30-8:30 pm ; Matinee Sundays 2:00-3:30 pm
Havana Theatre – Inside Havana’s Restaurant, 1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Purchase Tickets $24/$18