best holiday treats are also the least expected.
That’s the case with ‘‘A Very Merry
Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” which is one of the
funniest holiday spoofs in a long time.
Much of the joy of ‘‘Scientology Pageant” comes
from Jason Southerland’s sleek direction and choreography, as well as
his cast of
talented children. When these kids play campy or overact,
it’s in keeping with the tenor of the story and adds to the fun.
Composer, lyricist and book writer Kyle
Jarrow’s premise is to tell ‘‘the story of stories,” which is not about
Jesus - it’s about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. For the next
hour, we are treated to kids telling the story of Hubbard’s life, a
versatile guy who represents the culmination of a billion years of
evolution. You’ll learn why, and more, in this hilarious show.
With a collection of decidedly low-tech props -
including a surfboard, a boat and a glorious gunbattle with Super
Soakers - the kids sing and dance their way through numbers including
‘‘Hey! It’s a Happy Day” and ‘‘L. Ron Hubbard,” backed by a perfectly
lame drum machine.
Jacob Rosenbaum leads the gang as a winning
Hubbard, with Gianna Beniers, Kayleigh Cyr, Connor Doherty, Sasha
MacDonald, Laura Morell,Sophie Rich and Matthew
playing a variety of roles. Every member of the ensemble has a terrific
voice, and when they play celebrity Scientologists,
Alley, John Travolta and Tom Cruise, you may get a stitch in your side
from laughing so hard.
The beauty of ‘‘Scientology Pageant,” though,
lies in Jarrow’s straightforward presentation of Hubbard’s precepts.
You might actually get caught up in the story of Hubbard’s life. Having
children act out the elements of Dianetics only points out
Scientology’s absurdities. When the ensemble performs ‘‘The Way That It
Began,” Hubbard’s link between his religion and his sci-fi novels is
spelled out with delirious results.
By the end of ‘‘Scientology Pageant,” you’ll
have a new appreciation for child performers and know that a spoof is
no alien concept to them.
“A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s
Scientology Pageant.” Presented by Boston Theatre Works at the Boston
Center for the Arts’ Plaza Theatre, through Dec. 16.