Skip to main content

Review of The Flint Street Nativity, performed by University Of Northampton BA Actors at Maidwell Hall (Avenue Campus), Northampton

The Flint Street Nativity was presented by the BA Actors as part of a double bill with The Night Before Christmas, and you could hardly imagine such a difference in style. Tim Firth's genuinely, quite endearing play was quite the opposite to the rough and vicious Christmas spirit of the previous show.

Flint Street offers the intriguing situation of adult performers acting as children as they present to their audience (and always watched by the unseen, but a creepy red lighted teacher, Mrs Horrocks), their production of the nativity. It forms quite a delight of totally recognisable characters from your school days if you are able to remember that far back.

Among my favourite performances from this are Gemma Fensham as the total brat Gabriel, never seeming to have an expression other than sucking a lemon, as she breezily switches her best friend back and forth with abandon. She rather stylishly perfected the sulking strutting off routine as well, fabulous! Playing up to his size with menace (but high humour mostly), Jake Wyatt brought a style to his sudden appearances as the Innkeeper, which were all perfectly timed.

There was a delightful performance from Robert Charles as the sweet-natured, but unfriended Wise Frankincense, who garnered much of the audience sympathies, along with an equally understated performance from Terell Oswald as Ass. Robert Barnes created some brilliant humour as Herod/Joseph, in a character that reminded me much of Max in The Play That Goes Wrong, who himself is still a child at heart. Barnes' timing, and audience reactive ease, clearly made clear that there is quite a performer there.

I found Farrah Dark quite delightful and suitably innocent as Mary, despite the constant threat of role usurpation from the plotting Gabriel. She also achieved quite an impressive puke, if that can be listed as a suitable acting achievement for the CV? Finally, my favourite performance came from Megan Leask-Walters as the Narrator, not necessarily a showy role, but one that with great effort, can be made one. For me, Leask-Walters did this rather brilliantly, who of all the cast, nailed down the youthful nature of the role the best. Trying desperately as she might to keep the show moving along as the chaos surmounted around her. Really delightful.

The play itself is great fun and makes a sensible one act option despite the fact that it is populated with a large number of characters. They all get fully realised by both writer and performers within this fifty minute or so play, and while they might even during that short time become over-familiar, it remains an entertaining piece of theatre throughout. A nice friendly and really quite sweet play, nicely performed.

Performance viewed: Friday 15 December 2017 (matinee) at Maidwell Hall, University of Northampton (Avenue Campus), Northampton
Twitter feed for the University actors is @BA_Actors

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year. Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device. Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston)

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

Review of Theft at the Castle Theatre Studio, Wellingborough

The comedy-thriller Theft by Eric Chappell tells the story of an anniversary celebrating couple returning to the devastation of their home being ransacked in a burglary. However, this ransacking pales in comparison to the ransacking of their lives that then occurs as home truths are revealed. Anyone old enough to remember the works of Theft writer Chappell ( Rising Damp and Only When I Laugh ), could be forgiven for thinking that this 1996 play might feel a little dated for a 2021 audience. However, bar a few references much of their time now (the weaker sex and female priests for instance), Theft still feels comfortable in the 2021 world, where many of us just want both a good evening of theatre and a good bit of fun. With Theft from the highly regarded Wellingborough Technical Players, they get just that. The action starts as we find the man of the house John Miles played by Graham Breeze returning, very angry, to his home. He is a rightfully boisterous character, channelling all th