Reviewed by Cate Norris
The festivities have kicked off a trifle early in Coventry this year, with the arrival of Nativity the Musical, the theatre adaptation of the popular film. Telling the story of hapless Mr Maddens who, between crushed dreams, lost love and an ongoing childhood feud, it seems matters cannot get any worse for the primary school teacher. That is until he meets the teaching assistant who has been sent to help with the school Nativity, the one and only Mr Poppy!
Simon Lipkin stole the show as ‘big kid’ Mr Poppy who captured the endearing, yet slightly simple character, with a penchant for causing chaos, effortlessly. The comical contrast between Mr Poppy and serious, Mr Maddens (played by Scott Garnham), who may never have been a child, was spectacular. The chemistry between the two was fantastic and a delight to watch.
The entire cast of both adult and children were outstanding, in dramatic performance, vocal and dance. Ashleigh Gray (who played Jennifer Lore) was particularly impressive in her vocal. The staging and direction were superb, resulting in seamless transition and seemingly effortless comedy.
Nativity the Musical is full of laugh out loud hilarity and is the kind of rare, magical piece of theatre that doesn’t fail to bring non-stop entertainment but manages to instil a sense of hope and inspiration too. It is worth five stars by any critic’s standards (no minus two here) and well deserved of its standing ovation.
Tickets cost from £35.25 (booking fees may apply).
Nativity the Musical is at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry from 23-28 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.belgrade.co.uk or call the box office on 02476 553055.
Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade Square, Coventry, CV1 1GS | 02476 55 3055