"A triumph...stunning production...
the best school show I have seen for years."
This is how the Times Educational Supplement hailed the first performance of
The Greatest Show on Earth.
Since then, hundreds of successful performances have been given throughout
the UK and internationally in schools and colleges, churches and cathedrals.
Here are some of the appreciative comments we have received:
"In the past five years we have produced 'Joseph', 'Oliver', 'Dazzle', 'Horse of Wood'
and 'Grease' and I would certainly put The Greatest Show on Earth up among the best!"
"I would have to agree with the Times Educational Supplement reviewer who rated it as
one of the best Christmas shows ever."
"The children took to the music more readily than anything else we've ever done."
The Greatest Show on Earth - a musical in which the members of a travelling circus put on
their own inimitable version of the Nativity story - could be a big hit with
your performers and audiences alike this Christmas.
"Let's look back two thousand years
From Christmas as it now appears,
With hate and famine, crime rate soaring,
People fighting, countries warring,
Gone the love and gone the pity,
Gone from Royal David's City,
Let's do some back-tracking
To find out where we're lacking.
Come on...ROLL UP!"
St Columba's Players
'THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH'
Director Graham Nicol
Musical Director Judith Crawford
This was described in the publicity as being a Nativity story with a difference. The difference is that the story is told against a circus setting, complete with ringmaster, clowns, acrobats, knife-thrower etc., obviously influenced by 'Godspell' and 'Joseph', but none the worse for that. Since we all know the plot, the main interest lay in how well the treatment worked, and this was very successful, told with a certain reverence, apart from some possibly dubious taste involving the aforementioned knife-throwing by Herod's henchman and male babies. Humour was much to the fore, and the music was very tuneful, and, at times, moving.
Performances from the whole company of forty or so were very confident, and conveyed the enjoyment of those Involved, from children to grandparents. Billy Meeks, as Joseph, in particular, impressed with his portrayal of a simple, but warm and understanding artisan. One of the highlights of the second act was the very funny rendering by one of the Roman Guards of the plaintive 'I'm Not Drunk'. Director Graham Nicol had expertly tailored his production to the awkwardness of the stage erected in the nave of the church, and had managed to include some beautiful special effects. Honours too to the lighting and sound engineers. Perhaps 'miracles' is not an appropriate word, given the venue, but they certainly worked wonders under very difficult conditions. Judith Crawford led the excellent small band and directed the music from the piano. The cast battled (successfully, for the most part) with the acoustics of the cavernous space, and some of the ensemble singing was splendid. All in all, a most enjoyable performance of a work which I would not hesitate to recommend other groups as a Christmas production.
NODA News (National Operatic and Dramatic Society)
The Greatest Show on Earth
De Lisle Upper School, Loughborough
Autumn term closed on a lively note at the De Lisle School in Loughborough with a high-spirited production from the Upper School of the seasonal musical The Greatest Show on Earth. The Kirkup/Hobbs show is in the Rock Gospel vein, setting the Christmas story within a circus framework. There is much allegory, and the production was given an inventive "youth theatre" treatment which created a colourful, spontaneous feeling, admirably maintained throughout. Producer Tricia Coxon emphasised the action-packed circus theme, taking her young folk into the audience with balloons, streamers and general good cheer, sparking up the evening with a bright atmosphere.
Musical director Andrew Lawson had coaxed a smashing response from his singing chorus (bags of well defined harmonies) who filled in the stage spaces with attractive background pictures. Solos and chorus numbers were backed by a well balanced band of confident musicians who delivered a tight punchy sound, underpinning mood and atmosphere. Musical numbers were sharply contrasted; quiet love songs worked well alongside big, brash, bang-the-drum outpourings and the rousing march SPQR which opened act II.
The young cast tackled the tricky dual roles with vocal clarity and sensitive teamwork. The parts were written as two sides of what may not be quite the same coin, bending and blending historical fact, Christian tradition and circus caricatures into one character. For instance, Herod is also the physically powerful lion-tamer with all the sub-plottings, overtones and role-playing associated with both or either...
Coalville Times, Leicestershire.