22nd and 23rd December 2012
Written and Directed by Jill Priest
Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans
A familiar tale told in an alternative style for today.
The Christmas story is brought screaming and rapping into the twenty first century.
The OVOteens, OVO's new youth wing, make their debut at the Maltings.
Youngsters’ alternate take on Nativity
27th December 2012
HOW do you get 10 to 14 year olds interested in the Christmas story?
By creating an alternative nativity and giving them the chance to bring the tale of shepherds, angels and Wise Men totally up to date.
And that is what Jill Priest has done with her brilliant show AlterNativity which was performed by the newly-formed Ovoteens at the Maltings Arts Theatre at the weekend.
Jill, who anyone who goes along to the Company of Ten knows is a talented actress in her own right, wrote, directed and choreographed the show and if it is is not performed by other schools and theatre groups in the future, I will be amazed.
AlterNativity gives us rapping Angels, Beyoncé-style sheep and line dancers with a touch of gangnam thrown in. But what was so marked about it was just how much the youngsters taking part enjoyed themselves.
I loved Esme Stevens as a pregnant Elizabeth trying to convince Mary to love Her Little Miracle with a jazzy intonation which belied her age.
And the Angels, led by Emilio Campa’s Gabriel, singing It’s An Angel Ting brought the house down – and left the audience with a tune they must have found hard to get out of their heads.
Megan Hodges and Will Foxton as Mary and Joseph were delightful – he particularly when Mary told him never to come near her again and she when giving birth and then catching the Baby Jesus on stage.
And despite looking very serious when it came to her big moment, Antonia Gampell revealed a lovely voice as the Donkey which carried Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
The humorous side of the show was led by Mia Harrison as the Star. With Iseult Jones she also played a thoroughbred horse and both girls were clearly having the time of their life.
AlterNativity was written by Jill with a wholecast involvement in mind and that is exactly how it was staged. Everyone who took part deserved the wholehearted applause they received at the end of the Saturday night performance.
Emilio Campa, Daisy Charnock, Will Foxton, Antonia Gampell, Amelia Harrison, Megan Hodges, Aine Jennings, Niamh Jennings, Alice Jones, Iseult Jones, Alexandra Keaney, Jessica Kvedys, Ella-Maria Lopez, Sinead O’Riordan, Willow Payne, George Pettengell, Eve Slater, Emily Smith, Asher Stevens, Esme Stevens, Ruby Tompkins, Julian van den Arend Schmidt, Ted Waller, Benji Weidmann, Toby Weidmann, Eleanor Widdowson, Evie Wilkinson, Alice Young
Choreographer - Jill Priest
Assistant Director / Stage Manager - Brigid Garvey
Wardrobe Co-ordinator - Bridget Tompkins
Sound and Lighting - Ben Skipworth