The Flint Street Nativity

Studio Theatre     Studio Theatre, Salisbury Lloyd Perry  5 December  2023


On a cold and damp December evening it was great to be back at Salisbury’s Award-winning Theatre group based on Ashley Road in Salisbury. Studio Theatre are very lucky indeed to have a purpose-built theatre to operate from and judging by the packed and buzzing front of house area on the 2nd night things are looking good for the group.

Studio Theatre’s Christmas offering for 2023 was The Flint Street Nativity written by Tim Firth who is best known for writing the hit, Calendar Girls.

The Flint Street Nativity is billed as a comedy and tells the story of a group of 7 year olds , played by adults, who are preparing to perform their Christmas nativity play in front of their parents and family. At the end of the play we get an insight into the parents as the cast spin their skills in moving from children to play a selection of their adult counterparts

The play requires an exceptionally fast delivery and pace to keep the humour going and not to let the play flag. At times the cast didn’t seem to feel as one with some slips in pace, unsure moves coupled with some involvement from the prompt in the wings.

That said, some stand-out performances helped to drive the story forward. George Goulding as the Narrator gave a very true and strong performance. I especially liked the section at the end when he played the father role; bringing some much-needed pathos to the second half. Adam Barge also shone as the Ass with strong comic delivery and pace. There was good support from Jill Cowling as the rural, West Country speaking Shepherd, who had several long, comical speeches that had to be delivered quickly.

The costumes, designed by Rae Owen, were great and immediately took the audience to a nativity scene with angel wings, lavish wise men and great purposely styled homemade-looking costumes throughout.

The set was nice and gave some good touches and nods to being in a primary school classroom. From the globe in the corner to the small chairs and noticeboard there was a real feel of a slightly chaotic and messy classroom trying to get young children ready for their nativity.

Throughout the performance, things felt under-rehearsed both with the dialogue and songs but I do not doubt with another 4 performances in the sell-out run to go, it will further improve. The audience on the second night clearly enjoyed their evening out.

The production of The Flint Street Nativity runs until the 9th December 2023.