The first thing my three year old daughter noticed when we took our seats for Kid Carpet’s The Noisy Nativity at Tobacco Factory Theatres, was the star hanging from the ceiling. This is perhaps the only traditional prop anyone will recognise from the traditional Christmas story.
In this version, a cast of plastic animals assume the parts of Mary and Joseph, parents to baby Jesus (the hedgehog), a golden eagle swoops in to transfer the expectant couple to Bethlehem (in place of a police van and a used-to-giving-beach-rides donkey) and a David Bowie action figure makes an appearance.
*Disclosure: I was gifted tickets in exchange for a review. As always, my honest opinion is given.
Image credit Paul Blakemore
Kid Carpet (an anagram of musician and creator Ed Patrick), is a regular on the family-friendly Bristol theatre circuit. I’ve seen one of his previous Christmas shows, ‘Igloo’, before, and this latest offering had all the energy, zaniness and kiddy-disco punk tunes that makes his shows so well-loved by families, even during our very quiet Wednesday afternoon performance.
The action flips between the goings-on inside a cardboard puppet theatre – which is projected onto a big screen, making the toy animals seem much larger than they actually are – and Kid Carpet chatting to his young audience, in such a way that plays right into the hearts and attention spans of kids. My favourites were a rubber chicken musical number and a rendition of ‘Jungle Bums’ (sung to a drum ‘n’ bassy Jingle Bells tune), which is still being chanted daily in our house. Conversation also bounces back and forth between Kid Carpet and Chris the technician, who also plays the voice of God – although I’m not sure my little one picked up on the fact it was him, as every time he boomed over the microphone, my daughter would glance nervously towards the heavens.
Audience interaction is part of the agenda of this show and a particular highlight was a live ‘Penguin Drive’ (based on the console game) involving everyone in the room ducking and playing air guitar every time a rock or tree appeared on screen. Children who like a bit of the limelight (not mine in this case, she was too shy, despite being so comfortable in her OWN nativity show that she loudly announced her intention to eat her toenails live on stage) will be rewarded for their participation efforts with voice-changing microphone effects, nativity costumes and a small part on stage.
If you’re looking for a 7-hour long, recorder-filled conventional nativity, you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you’re in the market for a zany, unique version of the Christmas story with some big beat tunes, kiddy giggles and a delicious side of comedy that soars right over little ones heads for the adults, Kid Carpet’s Noisy Nativity is for you!
Noisy Nativity is showing at Tobacco Factory Theatres from 4 December – 5 January 2020. Click here to book tickets.
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