‘Christmas Pageant’ is heartwarming & fun

By Ryan Mertz
Special to the Times-News

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From left to right: Joshua Wood; Olivia Knighten; Sydney Fischer; Madison Kimrey; and Sam Crompton star in Alamance Children's Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." [Nick Chester / Special to the Times-News

Alamance Children’s Theatre’s “The Best   Christmas Pageant Ever” is an entertaining     and  heartwarming production.
Charlie Bradley (Joshua Wood) and his sister,   Beth Bradley (Sydney Fischer), are preparing   for the church’s annual Christmas pageant.   Beth Bradley introduces a battle between the   church kids and the Herdman siblings, who     are notorious bullies around the   neighborhood.  The one safe space the kids   have from the Herdmans is their church, but     this doesn’t last long.
Grace Bradley (Madison Kimrey), Beth’s mother, gets dragged into running the Christmas pageant since the usual director, Mrs. Armstrong (Natalie Clark), recently broke her leg. Now she must do the best she can for the Christmas pageant while having to deal with the Herdmans creating mayhem.
Madison Kimrey portrays the slightly overwhelmed yet determined mother effectively through her facial expressions and attitudes. Kendal Fischer, who plays the intimidating and bossy Imogene Herdman, brilliantly takes command of the stage. The battles between Grace and Imogene over creative control of the pageant are amusing to watch.
The church kids’ display of anxiety and fear toward the bad behavior of the Herdmans is hilarious. Sydney Fischer and Olivia Knighten, who plays Alice Wendleken, Beth’s sassy best friend, play off of each other effectively as they have intriguing dialogue about the Herdmans’ intrusion. All the while, the Herdmans become more inquisitive about the Christmas story as they are learning to play their roles.
The show is directed by high school seniors Kara Gilmore and Emily Sledge; both Gilmore and Sledge have previously starred in the show.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” features positive character changes and teaches people not to judge anything or anyone before they really explore what or who those people are. For a show about the discovery and values of Christmas and what it truly means, this is definitely the show to see.
Showtimes are 7 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington. Tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for students and seniors and can be purchased between noon and 3 p.m. today through Saturday and one hour prior to showtime. Credit card reservations can be made by calling 336-222-TIXS.

Ryan Mertz is a sophomore at Williams High School.

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