The Nativity story is one of the best-known tales around. Not, however, this version. Kilgraston’s ‘Portraits of Christmas’ certainly painted a vivid picture of a traditional scene, while simultaneously giving it a liberal dusting of artistic licence. And the audience loved it.
Billed as a ‘cross-school production’, ages five to eighteen rallied, bringing alive Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem through a narrative of verse and humorous conjecture in this one-off Christmas ‘KBC’ special: that’s the Kilgraston Broadcasting Company.
“Do you realise how hard it is to hire a donkey costume at this time of year?!” exclaimed an exasperated ‘TV exec’. The ‘donkey’ was in fact a horse and, in a further unexpected twist, the Heads of Geography and English surprised everyone by emerging, separately, from their fluffy constraint. “Pull yourselves’ together,” shouted the pupil-Exec. Teachers obeyed.
Ruth Morris’ beautifully iconic a capella, ‘No Room, No Room’, was accompanied by poster-sized flashcards telling us that the ‘Bethlehem Marriott, Hilton and Premier Inns were full for the night.’
The production was unexpected from the onset when the school’s Pipes and Drums band silently appeared on a pitch-black stage, only to give a stirring rendition of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ with the aid of luminous glow sticks. Mary and Joseph may well have been following a bright star over Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, but the audience followed the dashing flashes just as closely.
But this was very definitely a performance soaked in Scottish inflection. Did fiddles appear in the original Bethlehem stable? They certainly did tonight, giving ‘How Suddenly a Baby Cries’ a definite tartan twang. Even a pupil Highland Dancer, performing some intricate steps, seemed entirely in keeping with this unique interpretation. The green and blue clad choir clutched candles and swung to the various rhythms like a murmuration of well-rehearsed song birds.
The last laugh though must go to the feisty ‘Herod’. “Phew” exclaimed the three Wise Men as they left the mean King’s chamber after a thorough grilling. “I’m not dead yet,” he (she) barked as acolytes dragged him (her) kicking from the stage.