Review: Nativity! The Musical at the Birmingham Rep

Writer and Director: Debbie Isitt

Composers: Nicky Ager and Debbie Isitt

Choreographer: Andrew Wright

It may only be the start of November but Birmingham is starting up the festive celebrations with the world premiere of Nativity! The Musical based on the festive 2009 film Nativity!

The book by Debbie Isitt is sharp, hilariously funny and uplifting. Isitt wrote and directed the original film but this is much more than a copy and paste job. Instead, subplots are created and the characterisation is much more in-depth especially for the role of Mr Maddens who Daniel Boys plays. It creates a fun and emotive Christmas cracker.

Simon Lipkin is fantastic as Mr Poppy, a lovable rogue who is full of energy and charisma without being overbearing.  The young company of children are a core part of the production and they are charming and talented.

All of the songs from the original film by Nicky Ager and Isitt have been included alongside lots more to keep the story flowing. Hollywood is coming is a great new addition and the reprise of Very First Day Of School by Lipkin was a very heartwarming moment.

The set by David Woodhead is reminiscent of a Toy Theatre with ropes and other stagecraft being highlighted rather than hidden. The lighting by Tim Mitchell is similarly big and bold with a rather clever use of audience participation weaved into it towards the end.

This production sets the standard high for the festive season across the country. A feel good and light-hearted script filled with love, comedy and catchy tunes leaves you feeling full of Christmas Spirit. This show will sparkle and shine all the way into your heart and like the original film is surely set to be a firm family favourite that will return year after year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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