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Updated Friday, December 14, 2012 at 07:01 AM

‘Owen Meany’ an antidote to holiday sweetness | Theater review

By Nancy Worssam
Special to The Seattle Times

Owen Meany, that shrill-voiced, deceptively innocuous little guy, is back at Book-It for the holiday season, proving you don’t have to be big to be powerful. The production, “Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant,” directed by Jane Jones and adapted by Jones and Myra Platt from John Irving’s book “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” has been a Seattle holiday favorite for many years and keeps on giving.

Josh Aaseng, as Owen, begins as victim, morphs into brilliant manipulator and succeeds in wreaking total havoc on the Christmas pageant planned by officious Mrs. Wiggin, played by Kathleen Stoll (who doesn’t need a broomstick to portray a witch).

Mary Beth Baird (Ashley Marshall), the least likely youngster to play Mary until Owen interferes, proves to be an audacious virgin, taking her opportunity to new theatrical heights. Harry Todd Jamieson as timid Harold Crosby deserves a medal for forbearance as he literally hangs center stage for much of the show.

Physical humor is a strength of this production, amplified by Jocelyne Fowler’s clever costumes — including gray washcloths as donkey ears. It’s a nightmare Nativity re-enactment, for the amusement of young and old.

Nancy Worssam: ngworssam@gmail.com

Theater review

‘Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant’

Through Dec. 23 at Center Theatre, the Armory, Seattle Center; $25-$37 (206-216-0833 or www.book-it.org).


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