REVIEW: The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) is a holiday gift within a gift
By John Van de Ven
The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), is a holiday gift within a gift – or a pageant within a play.
The premise of the play (written by Reed Martin) is a pageant featuring a number of acts. Presented by St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church, during the church’s annual Multicultural Interfaith Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant.
The pageant promises acts from performers such as Cirque du Sleigh, the Ramadancers, and The Kim Kardashian Can-Can Candy Cane Concatenation, just to name a few. While the pageant is expecting multiple acts, it quickly becomes clear that the only acts that have shown up are the three young women who are emceeing for the evening.
Directed by Marc “Mok” Moser, the show begins as three elfin-like silhouettes appear posing on stage. After a brief introduction from the three hosts (Beth Davis, Kris “Pepper” Hambrick, and Anna Richardson), the first act was to take stage.
Soon after an announcement is made that a massive snowstorm has hit and all roads leading to the theater have been effectively shut down. This was tragic because the scheduled acts had not arrived yet.
As the three hosts fumble about on stage wondering what to do, the idea of refunds quickly became a reality. The trio acts quickly, making the decision to tackle the bulk of the show themselves, at least until the other acts arrive.
The set is very homey and inviting (created by Cyndi Baumgardener, Eric Dickman, Paul Gould, and Maggie Larrick). Everything from the faux fireplace burning away in the center of the stage to the decorated tree with presents underneath to the manger, all are in sync with the holiday spirit.
The multi-talented Davis (who also plays an instrument in a couple of bits and directed the music for the show), Hambrick and Richardson take the spotlight and the show from this point on. The troupe goes above and beyond to entertain their snow-banked audience.
While it is quite humorous, the show does ask the question of what the holidays are really about. Are the holidays about Santa and presents, or is it about friends and family coming together or is it about the birth of Jesus? The answer comes in a series of songs and skits ranging from modified traditional carols to a traditional English style panto.
The pageant does require some audience participation, so wallflowers should come prepared to yell, clap and sing-a-long with the show. And it’s these bits that include the audience that bring a personal feel to the show, making each one unique.
A version of The 12 Days of Christmas is sung at one point and a recreation of the nativity scene is paired with the story of the birth of Jesus. Christianity isn’t the only religion represented either as we are taught about the meaning and purpose of Kwanzaa.
There is a 15-minute intermission before the final stretch of the show, with themed drinks available at concessions. The pageant finishes with Davis, Hambrick, and Richardson having done the entire show (and exceedingly well) from beginning to end.
At the end, just like that, the storm lifts and the roads are cleared, and we get to go home, filled with a little more joy and yuletide spirit than when we arrived. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that a little of that holiday magic took hold that night, and I’m glad it did.
So if you want to do something a little bit different, and experience something unique this holiday season, then make your way to the Burien Actors Theatre between now and Dec. 18. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays.
- General Admission: $20.00
- Senior & Active Military: $17.00
- Students: $10.00
- Group (10 or more): $12.00
Tickets can be purchased online here; you can also use this Coupon to save $5 bucks:
Burien Actors Theatre is located at 14501 4th Ave. SW, Burien.
The Burien Actors Theatre has been putting on performances for the Burien and surrounding communities for 37 seasons, and operates as a not-for-profit entity, and relies on donations to keep it going.
More info at www.burienactorstheatre.org.