REVIEW: The Flint Street Nativity, Warkworth Drama Group.
‘The funniest production you’ve ever done!’
While post-performance accolades in the pub are probably not the most accurate of critical measures, such an unsolicited comment was an indication of just how well Warkworth Drama Group’s staging of The Flint Street Nativity was received.
To get a bunch of amateur thespians aged 20 to 70 to adopt the personas of seven-year-olds was a stiff-enough challenge for directors Ralph Firth and Alli Jones-Christopher, but for the production to be pulled off with such aplomb within the restricted confines of Warkworth’s Memorial Hall stage was pretty special.
The oversized ‘children’ did their best to get things right for the unseen class teacher Miss Horrocks and managed superbly to achieve the opposite. All the comic gaffes seen at genuine school nativities – badly-made costumes, hugely unlikely props and dumbstruck actors – were expertly milked by a fine cast.
There was the lad who weed himself when he couldn’t get to the toilet because he was wearing a donkey’s head, the baby Jesus having to be hurled on from the wings and the lad with a lisp who has to be the wise man bearing ‘frankinthenth’.
Laughs came thick and fast as the Christmas story was enacted against a background of shambolic last-minute preparations, mumbled carols and stage-whispered prompts from Mary to her mute ‘husband’ who landed the role of Joseph due to the last-minute withdrawal of original choice Declan who’d been sick in a sock.
The final scenes involved the nativity collapsing into chaos as the school’s resident stick insect, named after gangling soccer star Peter Crouch, escapes, and the children’s parents commit many a faux pas as they mingled for the post-play drinks reception.
The reaction of the audience over the three nights was one of genuine enjoyment if the length and volume of applause – and comments in the pub – were anything to go by.