Review: The Messiah at Birmingham Rep

by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour

The Messiah at Birmingham Rep

A rotating stage, dangerous electricals, a late guest star and toy sheep provide all of the elements for one truly bonkers night at the theatre!

Written and directed by Patrick Barlow, The Messiah offers its own unique spin on the arrival of Christ. And I do mean unique! This light hearted production is at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 27th October and is pretty amusing.

John Marquez, Lesley Garrett and Hugh Dennis photo by Robert Day
John Marquez, Lesley Garrett and Hugh Dennis photo by Robert Day

Hugh Dennis plays Maurice Rose a touring theatre producer with a company consisting of himself and just one other person Ronald Bream (John Marquez). They are joined for this show by Mrs Leonora Fflyte (Played by Lesley Garrett!) and that completes the whole cast!

With just three performers on stage, the attention is firmly focused on the characters and their Messiah production. Maurice, Ronald and even Mrs Leonora Fllyte then take on the roles of everyone in the Messiah, from 14 year old mary Mary and her betrothed Joseph to Angels, Shepherds and the three Magi (Wise men/Kings).

Hugh Dennis and John Marquez photo by Robert Day
Hugh Dennis and John Marquez photo by Robert Day

I had no real clue if this was going to be a musical, a drama, a comedy a farce… its all of these things as Lesley Garrett (in her first ever play!) sings with carnage around here. There’s drama as they deal with Maurice’s on stage breakdown and comedy thrown everywhere.

The stage is very straight forward with twelve pillars, most of which are crumbled leaving just three. The biblical subtext is right there to see. I always worry when a visiting show encourages interactions from a Birmingham audience as we are fairly likely to do just about anything. From shouting out to reading cards and even one poor lady being pulled up onto stage. There’s several crazy moments which could spin out of control.

I found a lot to love about this show which was warm, offbeat and slightly unhinged.

My mother wouldn’t approve of the F-bomb being dropped midway through in what is otherwise a family friendly show, there are tinges of everything from Morecambe and Wise to The Play that goes wrong which can’t be a bad thing at all.

Lesley Garrett photo by Robert Day
Lesley Garrett photo by Robert Day

Check out The Messiah at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 27th October. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/the-messiah.html (Lesley Garrett will not be appearing on 23 and 24 October.)


This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see The Messiah at the invitation of Birmingham Rep.

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