The Flint St Nativity

Date 5th December 2019
Society Neston Players
Venue Neston Civic Hall
Type of Production Comedy
Director Carole Goodwin/Eleanor Lyon
Musical Director Craig Price
Producer Kerry Quayle

Report

Author: Jenny King

The Flint Street Nativity

 

Date - 5th December 2019

Society - Neston Players

Venue - Neston Civic Hall

Director - Carole Goodwin

Assistant Director - Eleanor Lyon

Music Director - Craig Price

Report - Jenny King (5/12/19)

 

From start to finish this production was a total joy. It had laughter, pathos and a very well written script; which was performed by very talented actors.

Written by Tim Firth, it encapsulates the typical school nativity performed by Mrs Horrock’s class of seven year old children; who are portrayed by adult actors. Every member of the class had their own individual personality which was carried through the whole production allowing the audience to bond with each and every one of them.

Jenny Dewhirst portrayed the ‘leading role’ of Mary always wanting to ensure that everything was correct for her teacher while having to contend with the Angel Gabriel (Jenny Clement) who really wanted the role of Mary and was determined, by any means, to get the role. She also showed her mean streak as she continually dictated which of her friends - the angel played by Emma Griffiths and shepherd played by Paula Condliffe-Hughes could speak to and be friends with each other; their expressions and body movements were excellent.

The quiet, shy Joseph played by Matthew Harvey, who also doubled as Herod, was fantastic, one of the funniest performances I have seen in a long time!  He was totally the seven year old boy who just wanted to wave to the audience. The scene with Pedro, the Spanish Donkey, was hilarious and I also loved Mary saying lines to the Innkeeper.

Gordon Wallis instigated even more madness as ‘The Star’- I’d never thought about the shape of a star before this, planets are certainly not star shaped!! He was eccentric, totally in his own world of space travel and astronomy.

The shy newcomer with the lisp was given the part of King - the only problem being the pronunciation of his gift of Frankincense - Callum New totally understood this part and his song, while still showing his vulnerability, had humour while his presentation of his gift to the baby Jesus was brilliant. I also enjoyed Pam Dutton as Wise Gold, his gift of a certain box of chocolates with ‘Gold’ in its title made everyone laugh.

Noel Ross created a fantastic character as the Innkeeper - he was certainly the ‘difficult’ child in the class. His moments in Mrs Horrock’s Special Place and with the ‘star’ and Peter Crouch, the stick insect, were totally brilliant, excellent characterisation from all. One of my particular favorite moments was the entrance of the Ass, played by Alan Binns. That headpiece could’ve been made in any primary school - I loved the Gaffer tape holding it all together. Every single person was totally believable as a seven year old child, but then they became just as believable when they became adults for the final scene of the show. There was still humour, but some of the back stories were quite poignant which changed the whole feeling within the hall. The audience really responded to the whole show, the applause at the end was really well deserved.

Carole Goodwin as Director and Eleanor Lyon as Assistant Director certainly brought out the very best of the cast, the characters were all totally believable, but never over-done. We really believed they were seven years old.

The scenery was simple allowing the actors to create their own characters, but with enough so that when they were not speaking they had things to do. The side extensions worked well giving outside space and a ‘naughty’ area.

The music, while being traditionally based, was clever and difficult with words relevant to each characters in the show and the lighting and sound both complemented everything on stage.

This show really had everything. Plenty of laughter, some sadness, some thought provoking moments, really clever, well written dialogue, and a very talented cast.

 

What a lovely start to the Christmas season!

Thank you for your hospitality and to everyone at Neston Players.

 

Jenny King