Nativity at the Palace Theatre, Manchester

One of the best festive films is now a major new musical adapted for the stage by Debbie Isitt, the creator of the much-loved films.

Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’re attempting to mount a musical version! Only trouble is teacher Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer is coming to see the show to turn it into a film. Join him, his teaching assistant the crazy Mr Poppy, hilarious children and a whole lot of sparkle and shine as they struggle to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true.

Feel-good, funny and full of yuletide joy, Nativity! The Musical features all of the favourite sing-a-long hits from the films including Sparkle and Shine, Nazareth, One Night One Moment, She’s the Brightest Star and a whole host of new songs filled with the spirit of Christmas!

With the cast including West End favourites Daniel Boys (Avenue Q), Sarah Earnshaw (Wicked, Spamalot) and Simon Lipkin (Rock of Ages, Guys and Dolls), Nativity! The Musical is the perfect feel-good comedy for all the family.

Nativity is recommended for children aged 2+ but all ages are welcome. Children under the age of 18 months do not need a ticket.

Lindsay Harris and her daughter, Neve, went to review Nativity for us on Wednesday 29th November 2017 at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. This is what they had to say about the festive production…

Mum’s Review…

What could be more heartwarming at Christmas than Nativity? Another stage show of one of our favourite Christmas films and if I’m honest we were tired and we’d battled through the Manchester traffic and weren’t exactly full of the joys of the season when we sat down to watch the show.  But as soon as Simon Lipkin burst onto stage as the loveable Mr Poppy we were laughing, five minutes in and ‘laughing’ doesn’t quite do it justice. The whole audience were in stitches. There were tears rolling down my face and we were actually missing lines in places because the audience were laughing so much. I can hand on heart say that he played Mr Poppy even better than the original film version. He is clearly very talented as he sang and played instruments too. He was undoubtedly the star of the show but the entire cast were amazing. Daniel Boys as Mr Maddens played his part flawlesly as did all of the other lead characters and support cast but I have to praise the children here. I have no idea how they managed to act so naturally, I know that the original film was on the whole unscripted and somehow this cast managed to pull off the same affect. It was very cleverly done. The children were confident, wonderful singers and actors and really took control of the stage. The finale, the night of the Nativity show was a brilliant showcase for their talents and they had us all singing along. Every single child really did Sparkle and Shine. I can’t move off the topic of the cast without mention the dog Cracker who stole the limelight herself a bit and is definitely the most chilled out animal I’ve ever seen.

The set was simple but effective with hundreds of stars and lights, the school background and Holly wood but the Cathedral during the finale was striking.

I don’t want to give anything away and I’d love to tell you more about the finale but I’ll just say ‘have your mobile phones handy’. It’s all pretty special.

I know that this review sounds gushing but as we left, both me and Neve said that it was possibly one of the best shows that we have ever seen and that’s a big claim! We weren’t the only ones, as the standing ovation, cheers and thunderous applause proved. It was lovely listening to everyone talk as we were leaving as well. I heard more than one person say ‘I want to go back and watch it all over again’ and I can honestly say I would too.

It’s perfect for all ages and it’ll be the most fun you’ve had in ages. It’s just a pity it was only on for one week in Manchester. If you get to see this wonderful production before it ends, it’s worth travelling to the see it in Leeds or London for sure.

Score 10/10 *****

Lindsay Harris (Mum) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire

Daughter’s Review…

Nativity was the funniest play I have ever seen, it’s brilliant to watch for all ages from the jokes to the dancing to the singing. Nativity brought the movie to life and added more to make it more original.

The actor Simon Lipkin played the character, Mr Poppy so well he really fit the role and with Daniel Boys who played Mr Maddens  they worked really well together as you can see exactly how the characters differ.

The children were amazing and acted really well and had beautiful voices, it all looked like they had a great bond with each other and  it looked like they were having really good fun.

The songs were really catchy and great to sing along to. I’d definitely give it full marks and I’d love to go and see it again.

Score 10/10 *****

Neve Harris (Daughter) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire

Mother’s Score – 10/10
Daughter’s Score – 10/10

Total Score – 20/20 *****

Nativity has now left Manchester and is going to conclude its tour in Leeds and London. You can still purchase tickets by clicking on the link below:



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