But it does have several built-in problems to overcome. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, adapted by Barara Robinson from her popular novel, is a play about a church where the children play all the parts in the annual Christmas pageant. That means that more than half of the cast are children. That means that sometimes you get very cute and enthusiastic performances. And sometimes you get actors who are very uneasy on stage and afraid to look up and speak up – or who can only look up and stare out at the audience.
Plus, KTK Productions is a community theatre, performing in a church hall. They do some amazing work within their technical limitations, but the acoustics in the hall are not all they might be. And the actors can sometimes enthrall you with their performances. But they're not working professionals, and not everyone is working at the highest level of the most accomplished thespians.
In The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, we meet first the Bradleys, father, mother, daughter, and son. Daughter Beth, played by Missy Wientge, guides us through the story from time to time with her narration. Unfortunately, even with the help of a microphone, Wientge is not always the clearest narrator. But her brother, played by Jared Goudsmit, is quite a promising comic actor. Because Mrs. Armstrong, who always directs the pageant – she's played by Nancy Leahy, who was apparently still on book at the performance we saw – because Mrs. Armstrong has broken her leg, Grace Bradley, the mother, agrees to take over the pageant. A little stiff in the opening scene with her family, Stephanie McCreary, playing Grace, loosens up as she works with her juvenile cast.
In this community lives a family with five children, all potential juvenile delinquents, who bully the other children. But they've been told that they can get candy and cake at Sunday School, so they show up to be a part of the Christmas pageant, striking terror into the hearts of the other children. And the oldest boy and girl, played by Adam Kaul and Michelle Barry, insist on playing Joseph and Mary. And the youngest girl – Trenay Caruthers, if I read the program correctly – plays the angel bearing good tidings of great joy. She's one of those cute and enthusiastic performers, prefacing her heavenly proclamations with “Shazaam!” Alex Ford, the young woman who narrates the nativity story, does speak clearly. The bad kids are moved by the story, Mary cradles the baby Jesus lovingly, and all the doubting adults, even Mrs. Armstrong, agree that this was the best Christmas pageant ever. And for the moment, it was. And we all believe in Santa Claus.