Review: The Flint Street Nativity, The Forum Studio Theatre, Chester

THE FLINT STREET NATIVITY/Forum Studio Theatre, Chester

REVIEW/by Naomi Dunning

AS CHILDREN, parents and schools prepare for the stresses of the annual school nativity it is definitely worth taking time out to enjoy the humour, heartache and festive feel-good fun of the latest Tip Top productions’ performance.

The Flint Street Nativity by Cheshire writer Tim Firth has been taken on by the talented Tip Top Productions team and once again they have proved they are far from amateur.

Firth takes the audience into the world of the school nativity, and in particular into Mrs Horrocks’s class at Flint Street Primary School.

It is the night of the nativity and the audience sees bickering girls, bullying boys and a stick insect each play their part in the traditional Christmas story. What makes this play funnier is that the children are played by adults.

The Tip Top actors cleverly pair fun, humour and excitement of the school play and the prospect of an audience full of relatives with the harsh reality of the homes and family circumstances the children return to at the end of each school day.

Sally Dillon expertly plays the attention seeking child who is desperate to play Mary but has only been given the part of Gabriel. Her little madam character strops on and off the stage turning friends against each other, shouting the loudest and shamelessly trying to steal the role of Mary from her classmate.

The Narrator played by Simon Phillips steals the heart of every audience member as he nervously tries to learn his words to impress his Dad. His facial expressions, body language and comic timing are hilarious and heart wrenching all at the same time.

As in the company’s last production Little Voice , Pippa Redmayne once again showcases her acting skill- this time by playing the mostly upset and bewildered wise man.

Mark Newman and Emma Bithell both beautifully portray children innocently delighted at the prospect of taking to the stage but easily lead by their more forthright classmates.

All the characters in this production are are well played and once again the company has showcased the exceptional acting talent we have in Chester.

The Tip Top Productions team mixes Christmas carols and comic timing to make this performance a must see. The audience exits the theatre with a real festive feeling and a smile on their face after a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Tip Top Productions, The Flint Street Nativity is on at The Forum Studio Theatre from November 19 to 27. For tickets call 01244341296 or go to www.chestertheatre.co.uk.

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