Review: Reading Rep presents The Nativity Play Goes Wrong – a real Christmas treat

All-singing, all-dancing, all good clean fun … what good possibly go wrong in The Nativity Play Goes Wrong? Ian Legge

If you’re going to see The Nativity Play Goes Wrong, what a Christmas treat you have in store.

Reading Rep use a small venue in Reading College to present their festive farce. The audience are never more than three rows away from the stage so you find yourself looking into the faces of the actors.

The show focuses on the incompetent Script Over Scripture Society (S.O.S) who are putting on an irreverent production of the nativity story where nothing goes to plan.

Imagine every disaster at every nativity play you’ve ever seen, roll them into one, add a few more calamities involving laser beams, Doctor Who and poisonous snakes and you have The Nativity Play Goes Wrong.

The cast of six are superb as donkeys and sets collapse around them, music and computer programmes are mixed up while an exchange student, played by Bryony Corrigan, doesn’t understand much English and manages to introduce a lot of confusion.

Leanna Wiggington makes a perfect Mary as she attempts to keep a serene expression playing opposite Mike Bodie as Joseph. Rick Romero does some impressive flying as the angel Gabriel. He also plays King Herod and somehow keeps losing his clothes.

There is also a wonderful relationship between Christopher Currie as the director and Niall Ransome as the stage manager. More and more things go wrong, tensions rise between the two and the others try their best to cover up the mounting mistakes.

The gags come quick and fast and I was glad when the plot slowed so that I could get my breath back – I was laughing so much.

A brilliantly funny twist on the traditional nativity play and great family fun.

The play gave the feeling that the actors were very flustered, the director got more and more stressed out as the play progressed.

It was like a Series of Unfortunate Events in that one bad thing happens after another, putting the actors and the long suffering director under more and more pressure. It was difficult to tell if the mistakes were meant, or not.

It was definitely family friendly, and the children in the audience were all laughing their socks off.

All of which added up to a very enjoyable experience, even if you did feel bad about laughing at certain parts.

The Nativity Play Goes Wrong is a bespoke collaboration between Reading Rep and Mischief Theatre. Written specially for Reading Rep’s theatre space by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields who wrote the West End smash hit, The Play That Goes Wrong.

The Nativity Play Goes Wrong runs until January 4, 2014, with performances at 2.30pm or 7pm most days, including New Year. Tickets cost £12 or £10 for concessions.

For more details, log on to or call the Reading Arts box office on 0118 960 6060.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 January 2014 13:58