BWW Review: THE FLINT ST NATIVITY at Dolphin Theatre Onehunga, Auckland
Reviewed by Pauline Vella
The Flint St Nativity - by Tim Firth
What a concept - who does not remember the naked ambition, the competition, the betrayal, bribery and jealously in the Primary School classroom to secure a plumb role in the annual Christmas Nativity play! We can instantly relate and regress several, if not many decades.
As Playwright Tim Firth says, this life lesson, experienced by all, prepares us for one of the toughest issues we will ever have to face as adults.
"The part you end up with in life may not be the part you deserve."
Director Annie Whittaker has been innovative in her casting, choosing an all-female cast to play both the boys and the girls. This adds an extra component to the piece and is fun, even more so, I imagine, even for the cast.
The competition for Mary is fierce, with the very talented Merrin Cavel firmly ensconced in the Mary blue robes. In her role as Mary, she displays almost saintly patience at times, with the constant onslaught of takeover attempts by the Angel who feels her shining talent is wasted in wings.
Jordan Lincoln, as the aforementioned Mary wannabe is thoroughly obnoxious and emotionally blackmails other children with the " you're not my best friend anymore" when either of them questions her.
Robin Donnelly is always funny and with Joseph being a boy who copes with life as if he is in a constant game show, plays right into her acting skill set.
Helen Davis, as the Narrator, tries valiantly to keep the school play plot advancing and the children under control but is on a hiding to nothing. She displays nice vulnerability at times.
Jacqueline Hinchcliffe played a cheeky little boy, with her superb portrayal of first, but lost love and the subsequent search for revenge.
Lisa Inman played the Ass, spending most of her time in a full head mask. She was a beautiful mix of confused and ironic.
Vicky Cairns was quietly moving in her determination to have the school play depict the true nature of the stars in the universe, not wanting to make a fuss, but she triumphs in the close of the school play curtain call.
Carleen Craig is very funny as a pretty argumentative shepherd, Charmain Williams is permanently confused about if she was in the popular girl's good books or out, while Julia Rutherford shared the same fate. Rochelle Cowie as Wise Frankincense played her big scene in a very pleasing understated manner.
The sound was excellent, as was the lighting.
The singing was a little patchy at times, however, attacked mostly with a fervour that only a class of seven-year-olds can muster. The recorded piano accompaniment was extremely complementary to the singing.
The pace was a little slow a couple of times on the opening night, which will no doubt be improving as the audience responds.
And the take-home lesson for the adults watching this play is in the final scene - make sure we emotionally mature as we age. Acting as a seven-year-old does, once we are grown up - well it is not very attractive.
The Flint St Nativity
12 Spring Street Onehunga
Until 30 November