A Children's Guide to the Birth of Christ

Tue 22nd – Sat 26th November 2011

reviews

Divya R

at 00:58 on 23rd Nov 2011

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Let’s start with the poster. A child sobbing earnestly, and quotes calling Jeff Carpenter’s previous work “shit” and “a travesty.” This sets the stage for A Children’s Guide to the Birth of Christ: goofy, irreverent, and absolutely refusing to take itself seriously.

As the principal of the fictitious school putting on the play, Jack Oxley is in character before the show even begins. As I walked in, I was greeted by a man in a suit asking for donations to the school and politely inquiring if I had a child in the play. The theater was completely full, even in its bizarre setup. Corpus Playroom is sort of V-shaped, with two sections of seating at right angles to each other.

Noteable performances included Saul Boyer as King Herod and James Swanton as one of the magi. Swanton was hilarious, with his muppet-like demeanor and eagerness. Boyer was satisfyingly evil and a fantastic singer. The magi were the funniest part of the show, particularly their robot dance. The animals’ dance also stood out. Joey Akubeze in particular fully committed to a ridiculous horse dance. Amy Powell and Theo Boyce sang gorgeous solos.

The lighting team made a valiant effort on short notice, but the lights were distractingly harsh. Additionally, some of the singing left much to be desired. The angels’ dance was much too complicated, and as a result the singing was breathy and strained. The same went for the chorus singing. The energetic dancing made for badly supported singing.

A Children’s Guide to the Birth of Christ was fun. The cast’s energy made up for its flaws.

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