Thursday, January 20, 2011

Godspell review Customs House

'God doesn’t half work in mysterious ways’!
This is what the echelon of society and philosophers think and debate about in Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s Godspell. Tonight performed by the bright and colourful students of Sunderland University.
The teachings of wrong and right are brought to the forefront of life in this modern day version of the gospels, with song, dance and a fair splattering of humour thrown in too.
Godspell tracks Jesus and John the Baptist, vowing to do continue God’s work on Earth. Many confrontations take place with Jesus appeasing his congregation with the words and the law’s of The Lord. Many tests are made to the authority of Jesus, but he responds with words of love and joy. In a show of faith, Jesus tells how he can settle the divide of man, as a shepherd would separate his sheep and goats, with the sheep entering heaven and the latter entering eternal damnation. This story is taken all of way until the betrayal of Judas and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the crucifixion.

Godspell was well acted by all on stage, with fantastic singing voices on the likes of ‘Day by Day’, ‘Save the People’ and ‘O Bless the Lord’. If this is the standard of musical output from the University, then I think the theatre world is in very safe hands. I can see a lot of the players on stage tonight going very far to tread the boards.
Sam Porter was a very capable Jesus, commanding the stage with his halo intact, with Paul McCartie playing both John the Baptist and Judas it certainly did give us a sense of betrayal, he was great!
Producer Professor Graeme Danby and Director Rachel Emms-Hobbins, have gathered a great ensemble for this stage play, a lot of hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The stage design was very minimalistic, but that certainly worked. Using lots of props would only detract from what was going on.
The humour of the baaing of the sheep, the maaing of the goats and the ‘hi-five-ing’ of the cast brought about a smile to not only my but the whole of the audience's lips.
Contemporary religious studies is alright in my book!


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