York Stage Musicals have yet again produced a stunningly talented production, this time proving comedy prowess with Flint Street Nativity.
Fiona Baistow is fantastic as Mary, the goody-two-shoes who simply has to get the part right. She’s hilarious and likeable. Same goes for all of the cast really, bringing their children characters to life without being too OTT or childish – which makes it all the funnier. We learn about the children’s home lives and what makes them the mini-adults they are, we follow them during the trials and tribulations of putting on a nativity and we adventure through mayhem. Paul Mason as Inn Keeper is particularly menacing, with a sweet and vulnerable side that’s simply adorable. I’m also a big fan of Andrew Roberts as Narrator who just wants to do his best and impress his dad.
Matthew Clarke as Star and Chloe Shipley as Shepherd do a particularly great job of singing their funny alternative Christmas carols, both playing their parts with straight sincerity.
Unfortunately the star bully of the show, Gabriel, is played in a bizarre and forced kind of way by Florence Poskitt. Watch the film version of the show, and you’ll know the power of a subtle bully. Watch Poskitt scream, shout, huff and puff and then suddenly switch to sulking, crying and whining and you really won’t know what to think. It’s not a very nuanced performance, which is a shame because Gabriel should be one of the funniest characters.
Director Nik Briggs also stars as the Ass, and gets plenty of laughs in the role. But it’s the subtle direction and incredibly inventive set and costume design that I’m particularly impressed by.
The set is simply fantastic. The use of a see-through white curtain is great, meaning we still get backstage glimpses yet simultaneously have the effect of the children coming onto the main stage. And the pull-down ‘who’s been good chart’ revealing Mizzis Horrocks’ special cupboard is ace too.
Overall this is a really high quality production, with a great cast and a fantastic set. The venue is very small indeed, probably only seating around 50-75, so it’s an intimate show but that is no bad thing. Just make sure you turn up in time to get your seats!
Book to see Flint Street Nativity, on until 22nd December 2019.