Sunday, 9 December 2007

The Flint Street Nativity - Liverpool Playhouse

The Flint Street Nativity by Tim Firth
Liverpool Playhouse 29
th Nov -12th Jan 2008
Directed by Matthew Lloyd

Reviewed by Stephanie Rowe

The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatre's have struck gold this Christmas with two stunning productions, and it was the playhouse’s offering with which I had the delight of reviewing. The Flint Street Nativity is back for the second year running after its sell out run in 2006.

This production takes on the device of adults playing kids and other shows that have used this such as Blood Brothers and Blue Remembered Hills have been great theatrical successes, and this production is no different.

As a mother of two now fully grown children and also a nan I have spent so many mornings sat in a school hall at Christmas watching, wincing and enjoying what the children have to offer with their Nativity. Sitting in the auditorium of the playhouse watching this production was like going back in a time machine, not only remembering what my children had done but what I had done when I was in nativity plays as a child myself, I saw so many of the children who I had been at school with re created before my very eyes.

The cast were sublime and each took the role of playing a child very seriously which only added to the humour of Tim Firths first class script. It’s hard to pin point any actor that stood out as there really wasn’t a weak performance but Neil Caple’s Joseph being struck down with stage fright really was enchanting as was Gavin Kaufman’s musical direction of the Carols.

Matthew Lloyd's fantastic direction makes sure that this show is pacey and the laughs keep coming, and this is helped along the way by Robin Dons classroom set, it’s clear to see why this designer has recently won the critics circle designer of the Year, and to add to the typical makeshift feel Marie Jones’ costumes come full of cotton sheet robes, cardboard wings and even a baby Jesus Doll to woo us all.

The Flint Street Nativity truly was a magical fun evening and if panto really isn’t your thing and you are looking for something different to go and see with your family this Christmas time then I will be the first to recommend this Shining Star of a production, I enjoyed it so much I am already planning my return visit.

Photos top: Cast ff Flint St. Bottom:-Neil Capole (Herod) & Kate McGregor (Mary)

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