“Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant” produced by Book-It Repertory Theatre

When Book-It’s co-directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt first adapted John Irving’s unforgettable character Owen Meany from book to stage in 1997, its enormous popularity caused the production to be reprised every year through 2002. Well, all I can say is welcome back Owen Meany, you little, squeaky voiced, incredibly domineering youngster. We haven’t seen you in Seattle for nine years, and many of us had almost forgotten how much we adore you.

What Owen does to the Christmas pageant at Christ Episcopal Church in Gravesend, New Hampshire, can only be described as a holy horror. Despite the well-laid plans of the mealy mouthed rector and his imperious, self-important wife, everything that could go wrong does. Little Owen somehow manages to get the most inappropriate girl selected as Mary and the worst possible choice made for the role of angel. He anoints himself as the baby Jesus, tosses out the crib and installs himself on a bed of hay.

But Mrs. Wiggin, the heavy-handed minister’s wife, thinks she knows just how to take Owen down a peg. Sadly for her, every one of her efforts is a disaster. And every misstep in the Christ Church Christmas production is a hilarious moment for the Book-It audience.

Jane Jones’ direction is brilliant. Her cast, from Josh Asseng as Owen to every donkey, cow and shepherd in the ensemble is strong. Every action and its resulting catastrophe is choreographed as carefully as a classical ballet. My only caveat, and it’s a small one, is for Owen to use a little more face makeup, he’s a bit too beardy for an 11 year old.

That said, this is wonderful fun for all but the littlest children.

Through Dec. 23, at Center House Theatre, Seattle Center. (206 216-0833 or www.book-it.org)

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