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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

The Liverpool Nativity

St. John’s Gardens, William Brown Street, Liverpool

Sunday December 16

Author: mark Davies Markham
Director: Noreen Kershaw
Producer: Liverpool Culture Company & BBC 3
Cast Includes: Geoffrey Hughes, Jennifer Ellison, Andrew Schofield, Cathy Tyson, Jodie McNee, Kenny Thompson, Paul Barber, Joe McGann, David Yip,
Louis Emerick, Nerys Hughes
Running Time: 1 hour.

Image: Scene from the Liverpool Nativity 2007


As far as advertising goes, Liverpool’s Culture Company – who have in come in for some deserved stick during the run up to European Capital of Culture Year – set the 2008 ball rolling in fine style with this cross-region extravaganza, that had the residents flocking the stage area in their thousands on what was an incredibly cold night.

From the moment a rocket was sent down from on high to ignite the guiding star above the stage, the audience – led by Geoffrey Hughes in fine form as the Angel Gabriel in the guise of a security guard – were set to be enthralled and nobody was disappointed.
The story adapted by Mark Davies Markham to incorporate fine performances from Jodie McNee as a poorly paid café worker, Mary, and Kenny Thompson’s asylum seeking Joseph on their flight across country, avoiding prejudicial protestors and a government filled with self-promotion led by a deliciously nasty Cathy Tyson as Herodia (who had the select spot of the evening … performing inside the magnificent St George’s Hall).

Some of the songs from Liverpool glorious musical history, The Beatles, The La’s, Teardrop Explodes and Dead Or Alive, as performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the choir – Sense of Sound Choir aided by LIPA students – were ideally placed but without doubt the highlights were the singing of John Lennon’s Shine On, during which the audience added to the spectacle by waving torches during the chorus, and Andrew Schofield – a fabulously cheeky and irreverent Shepherd – singing Imagine.

Jennifer Ellison, looking suitably festive as a silver jump-suited angel, along with Joe McGann, David Yip and Louis Emerick as the Magi, all added to the star quality on show brilliantly, but this wasn’t about personalities. This was about the message of Christmas – and the message of Liverpool – reaching as many people as possible and, if this is an example of things to come, then 2008 will certainly be something worth looking forward to.

Stop Press!

Chris shares his experience of the BBC Nativity, a modern retelling of the Christmas story filmed live on the streets of Liverpool.

www.bbc.co.uk



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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