22nd Nov, 2017

Nativity the Musical at the Birmingham Rep brought tidings of comfort and joy

Droitwich Editorial 26th Oct, 2017

‘NATIVITY’ has been around as a movie for quite a few years now and the question is why hasn’t it been on stage before?

Put simply this is a barnstorming blockbuster of a feel good show that is surely destined to run and run.

Congratulations to the Birmingham Rep for producing what has to be the most magical show in the UK this Christmas.

When the final note was sung I joined the entire audience at this world premier in leaping to my feet in a spontaneous outburst of thanks for transporting us to a magical place for the past two hours.

I am not ashamed to admit there were tears of pure joy running down my face for most of the evening.

As you can gather from the opening I am recommending you sell your soul to get a ticket before it moves on tour on November 12.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie it is set in Coventry where St Bernadette’s Catholic School’ which has lost its pride and is in dreaded ‘special measures’ is going to put on a Nativity play for the first time in five years.

This has come about by the new teaching assistant Mr Poppy (a simply magical performance by Simon Lipkin) reigniting the pride of drama teacher Mr Maddens (the talented Daniel Boys). Along the way a white lie that a top Hollywood producer is coming to see it sets off a chain of events, which are so fantastic.

The action moves from Coventry to Hollywood and back again in a cleverly staged design pathway by David Woodhead.

The music does what all good musical numbers should and carry the story forward whilst being strong in its own right.

The children are as multi-talented as the adults and work as a magnificent ensemble.

Director and writer Debbie Isitt has not been daunted or limited by the confines of a stage as opposed to the creative abundance of screen but has used every theatrical device in the book to make sure this is a stand alone ‘Nativity’ not a watered down film on stage.

So alongside Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny we can now believe that the greatest Nativity ever to be staged is in Coventry Cathedral and we’re all invited.

It is sumptuous, joyous and will provide some memories to savour.

Review by Euan Rose.

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