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by Nigel Forde

Performed in Fratton, Cowplain, Farlington, Paulsgrove, Botley, Emsworth, Hayling Island and Southsea, December 2007


There’s a moment in Melchior’s Magical Mystery Quest when Archangel Gabriel gives wise man Melchior a glimpse of the cosmos and a view of Earth that makes it look ‘like a conker that a dog has chewed’.

Well, if you’re feeling a bit like that, a bit frazzled after a hard day at the checkouts, then take the family to spend an hour with the Top Cat Theatre Company.

The play, originally performed by Riding Lights, revisits the traditional nativity through the eyes of the three wise men and their wine-guzzling camel Desmond.

It’s a pacey script with plenty of panto banter, slapstick and audience participation. The cameo of the two cockney-Roman border guards Tedius and Scrofulus is quite simply hilarious.

The hysteria and hyperbole of these two characters eclipsed some of the other scenes and the small stage inevitably made the action a little static at times. But my boys loved it – and I was left feeling strangely moved.

I guess, even for a big kid like me, it’s important to look to the stars sometimes and remember that, if you take Christ out of Christmas, all you’re left with is M&S.

The News, 14 December 2007

All images copyright Top Cat Theatre Company.