Review of Nativity! The Musical at Birmingham Rep

Review of Nativity! The Musical at Birmingham Rep


Posted 2022-11-25 by dpmfollow

Sat 19 Nov 2022 - Sat 07 Jan 2023

Five years after it premiered at Birmingham Rep, Nativity! The Musical flies back into the theatre for the festive period. And it's a show not to be missed.

Based on Debbie Isitt's hit film of the same name, the show features two schools, Oakmoor and St Bernadette's and their annual battle to stage the best Christmas show. This year Mr Maddens and teaching assistant Mr Poppy have been given the job of staging St Bernadette's nativity but when a misunderstanding has the school, and the mayor, believing the show is being visited by Hollywood VIPs, it all goes just a little bit overboard.

Mr Poppy, played by Ben Lancaster, is absolutely crazy but totally loveable. With no experience of teaching whatsoever he waltzes into the school and immediately becomes part of the class – much more at home with the pupils than the teachers. But within that zaniness is a heart of gold that is firmly set on making the children successful and making Mr Maddens happy again.

Billy Roberts' Mr Maddens lost his childhood sweetheart Jennifer (Daisy Steere) to Hollywood at Christmas and has never recovered. He hates everything about Christmas, believes his class are hopeless and despairs at Mr Poppy. But this is a Christmas show so his heart is melted, he finds love and he becomes the force behind the Nativity!

Jamie Chapman returns to the show playing a host of roles from the Irish priest at confession to the smarmy reviewer from the local newspaper – who has given St Bernadette's minus two stars for its Christmas show in the past.

All the children are wonderful – they tug your heartstrings when they face disappointment and make you laugh with their acting antics.

Directed by Isitt, the stage show closely follows the film but is packed full of additional songs, co-written with Nicky Ager, that are so lively you can't get them out of your head and indeed most of the audience left singing the finale number Sparkle and Shine.

Designer David Woodhead has had a field day with the sets – there are children dressed as the buildings of Nazareth, giant presents that form trap doors, a moon swing and the background of the ruins of Coventry Cathedral.

A feel-good family musical, Nativity! really does sparkle and shine. If you saw it last time round you'll love it again and if you missed it five years ago, make sure you get a ticket.

#theatre -reviews
!date 19/11/2022 -- 07/01/2023
70819 - 2023-01-26 01:49:37


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