Nativity The Musical

Date 29th November 2019
Society Martins Wood Community Theatre
Venue Martins Wood School Drama Studio
Type of Production Musical
Director Tom Evans
Musical Director Charlie Wakely

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

This was the second production by the Martins Wood Community Theatre. A theatre group made up of parents, carers, staff, friends and pupils of Martins Wood Primary School. 

The story tells of three childhood friends who leave drama school but not quite fulfilling their dreams. Jennifer goes to Hollywood to make movies and the two young men, both failed actors, have become primary teachers at rival schools, competing for the best nativity play in the area. St Bernadettes opting for the more traditional story whilst Oakmore go more for a rock version of the story of Herrod. 

The three lead characters were captured well. Alfie Bryant was warm and endearing as Mr Maddens. Haydn Mullane as Gordon Shakespeare was full of self-importance and Kelly-Ann Corderoy was innocent and well-meaning as Jennifer.  All three gave good performances and formed believable relationships.  

The other key character to the story, who also acts as the narrator at the start and gets the audience involved, is that of the high-spirited and cheerful classroom assistant Mr Poppy played brilliantly by Tom Monk.  Tom’s childlike, fun and joyful characterisation meant he had the audience in the palm of his hands with an instant connection.  His interactions and scenes with Mr Maddens made me smile every time they interacted.  Also his opening song “Very First Day at School” and scene with the children was excellent and very funny.  Mr Poppy lifting one of the smaller children up while singing the start of the Lion King was a true winner, well done.  

St Bernadette’s head teacher Mrs Bevan was played by Paula Heyes.  Sometimes nerves can take over but you recovered well and continued with confidence. You gave us a firm but fair character in Mrs Bevan, well done you. 

Other adult parts which completed the principal list were; Fiona Challis (The Critic), Chris Richmond (Mayor), John Seaton (Mr Parker) Lauren Drury (Miss Rye) and Kelly Osborne (Tour Guide/Tj’s mum).  All giving creditable performances.  

Stealing the show however, and I don’t think the adults will mind me saying this, were the fantastic cast of children portraying the pupils of Oakmore School and St Bernadette’s Primary.  Each of them were strong little individual characters, who brought their own talents to the fore. There were some great facial expressions and confident performances from all of you. I was very impressed.  

The interactions between the children and the adult performers, both principal and in the adult ensemble was lovely to watch.

Costumes were bright and lively and I loved the staircase of “stars”.

Generally lighting was good but the follow spot was a little late on occasion. 

Musicians, under the direction of Charlie Wakely formed a good sound but at times, for me, it was a little on the loud side. This may however have been because I was sitting at a front table.

This production had a happy, warm feeling about it and I hope you all enjoyed working together.