NATIVITY: Debbie Isitt
Runs: 2h 25m, one interval, to 12 November 2017
Bham Rep BO: 0121 236 4455
Touoring to 6 Jan, details below
Review: Rod Dungate, 28 October 2017
A glorious poppy-field blossoms on the B’ham Rep stage
Debbit Ms-Natvity Isitt’s stage version of her comic look at the much-adored Nativity play is a great rollicking rumbustious knock-about; it scores on many levels two of which are the charming precocity children performers bring to an event plus there’s a nativity play too.
It’s skilfully crafted, the humour is genuinely funny across the ages and the songs ensure the pace never falters. And in the Birmingham Rep’s smtuous settings it’s a visual treat full of excitement.
Three best friends split to go their various ways, one to Hollywood, one into an inner-city (Coventry) primary school, the other into the poshest of posh primary schools. The two schools compete to see who can do the best Nativity. And if the show tends to the sentimental (nothing wrong with that) the message is real – value all young people wherever they come from and they will blossom. That’s a powerful message.
Simon Lipkin plays Mr Poppy, the catalyst in all this. He, childlike as he is, relats to the children in a direct and magical way. In his innocence he sees no barriers, and hence can break through them all. Lipkin is terrific, energetic but not pushy, naïve but not stupid. He creates a warm centre to this feel-really-good show.
The adults form a strong ensemble and enable the young people to be the real stars.
Isitt also directs, and in David Woodhead’s imaginative designs is able to achieve filmic fast-cuts that support the show’s energy. All this, with Tim Mitchell’s nothing-soared lighting will ensure a show to remember for adults and young people. An early, but well worth it start to the festive season.
20 OCTOBER – 12 NOVEMBER 2017
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22 – 25 NOVEMBER 2017
29 NOVEMBER – 3 DECEMBER 2017
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6 – 10 DECEMBER 2017
Theatre Royal Plymouth
13 – 17 DECEMBER 2017
Hammersmith Apollo, London
eventimapollo.co.uk | eventimapollo.com
20 December 2017 – 6 January 2018
Leeds Grand Theatre