Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Paul Duckworth, Michael Fletcher, Stephen Fletcher, Hayley Hampson, Lindzi Germain, Andrew Schofield, Keddy Sutton.
Band: Ben Gladwin, Greg Joy, Emily Linden.
Choir: Jay McWinen, Elaine Collins, Dee Spencer, Teresa Loughlie, Joan Pinnington, Rob Liston, Linda Martin, Barbara Davenport, Gretta Southern, Julia Hayes, Paul Davenport, Melanie Robson, Molly Madigan.
Whilst shepherds watch their flocks by night, the Royal Court Theatre audience are treated to a gem of a show in which everything that can go to plan does, in which every detail has the stamp of comedic authority written through its D.N.A. and in which has the all right ingredients to make it one of the season’s ultimate smash hits throughout the country. The Nativity is special, The Scouse Nativity is priceless.
Kevin Fearonâ’s second show for the Royal Court is not just a winner for the audience who make their way to the theatre this yuletide; it is arguably a huge champion for Liverpool. It is proof positive that the creative streak that runs through the city’s veins is alive and well and more than able to expand; that despite all that can be thrown at Liverpool from closely guarded jealous hands and hearts, the fact that you cannot remove its humour is a always going to be something that rankles in certain eyes.
The Scouse Nativity brings together a theatre sized ice cream tub of comedy in the cast. Paul Duckworth, Michael Fletcher, Stephen Fletcher, Hayley Hampson, Lindzi Germain, Andrew Schofield and Keddy Sutton are household names in Liverpool, without being over dramatic they have, either separately or together in other plays brought the house down and in The Scouse Nativity they are all in the year’s closing production as a tremendous comedy circus, one that can rival word for word, raised eyebrow and aside looks to the audience that of one the great cinematic treasures The Life of Brian.
The audience’s rapturous standing ovation at the end is all that is needed to understand just how serious the production is in making a crowd feel the spirit of humour, of having been given a story that is the point of being together at such times when the darkness is all around and all we want is hope to get us through. It is in comedy that a nation, a community is drawn together and The Scouse Nativity is exactly the right tonic to devour.
Bringing together both Michael Fletcher and his brother Stephen is a stroke of genius and it is with very special pleasure to see them act side by side. With the cast steeped in the essence of the reverential leg pull, Paul Duckworth excels in his role as the villain of the piece, Herod, the astonishing Hayley Hampson has arguably never been better, Keddy Sutton proves once again just what an unbound comedic treasure of delight she is, Lindzi Germain and Drew Schofield oozes class from start to finish and the band give the whole production the finishing touch it fully deserves.
One of the best festive comedies, a touch of glory that rivals plays such as The Flint Street Nativity for its observation and humour, one brought with joy by the Director Cal McCrystal and musical powerhouse Howard Gray. A resounding night of theatrical comedy; hilarious!
Ian D. Hall