Nativity! The Musical at Mayflower Theatre REVIEW: 'The true stars of the show are the children'

Nativity! The Musical is at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. Picture by The Other Richard
Nativity! The Musical is at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. Picture by The Other Richard
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Nativity! The Musical is faithful to the 2009 film of the same name.

It does indeed feature the songs Sparkle and Shine and Nazareth and by the end of the show the audience are truly invested in the nativity performance of St Bernadette’s school. 

After a stressful journey to the theatre we arrived and took our seats shortly before Mr Poppy (Scott Paige) arrived on stage. By the end of the show all that stress had left us behind with many laugh out loud moments and we left feeling truly festive.

Although the film is 10 years old, the jokes in Nativity! The Musical, are contemporary and aimed at all ages. 

The story is about a group of school children at St Bernadette’s, their teacher Mr Maddens (Scott Garnham) and classroom assistant Mr Poppy. They aim to put on a school nativity performance that beats that of the local private school. In this aim, a lie is told which becomes so big that we see Mr Maddens and Mr Poppy trying to salvage their pride and the hopes of the children.

It is a musical and it is performed to live music. For those who know the movie, many of the songs are familiar. There are however additions of some touching songs such as duets between Mr Maddens and Jennifer (Ashleigh Gray) and a particularly touching song where the children sing their letters which have been written to Father Christmas. 

Scott Garnham and Ashleigh, both play their characters wonderfully with great acting and singing.

The stand-out performance though, goes to Scott Paige. He is funny, believable and has such a wonderful on stage rapport with his fellow actors.

Having said this, the true stars of the show, however, are the children. They all give beautifully accomplished performances and look like they are having as much fun as the audience.   

If you need your Christmas spirit lifting you have until December 7 to catch this festive show.