Two reviews of Godspell from EdFringe

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This by Amber Segal

Nothing could have prepared me for the explosion onto the stage of the most energetic, confident and loud children on which I hath ever set mine eyes. All with strong, and very convincing, American accents and colourful costumes, I found myself plunged into the extravaganza of Forth Children’s Theatre’s ‘Godspell’. Is that Jesus playing the trumpet? Oh no, it’s John the Baptist; Jesus is over there in the denim waistcoat.

And this Four star review by Rose Bonsier.

FCT’s production of Godspell was brilliantly received by the audience, gaining a standing ovation at the end of the show for the talented young performers involved. I think this alone is testament to the hard work and energy the cast had put into the show, especially into the musical numbers which were all delivered with great showmanship. Whilst obviously not being as polished as a professional show, the whole cast clearly have a natural talent and, for a children’s theatre group, this was a very impressive piece.

At points I struggled to follow the plotline of the musical as it skipped through a series of biblical stories, but the cast acted each one out in an amusing way, updating parts of the script to be relevant to modern life. The co-ordination of the dance routines for each of the songs was fantastic, and they were quite clearly very well-rehearsed.

The major element of the production which really needs praising is the singing. Rarely have I ever been so impressed by such singing ability in such young performers. Gus Harrower was a remarkable Jesus, playing the piano with great skill as well as singing a huge number of solo parts with incredible character. Ronan Rafferty’s Judas made an equally strong impression on the stage, and the female leads were just as outstanding, with Hayley Scott giving a particularly mesmerizing performance as a woman saved from being stoned for adultery.

Particularly noticeable in this performance was the cleverly considered stage layout. The traverse design meant that the performers were all in good view all of the time and held a very close proximity to the audience, bringing them into the performance. In addition to this, a raised platform area at one end of the hall created a higher stage for key moments in the show, such as Judus’s betrayal of Jesus.

This is a company well versed in performing at the Fringe Festival – this Edinburgh based group has had a play involved every year since 1979 – and whilst Godspell might not be everybody’s cup of tea, as musicals go this impressive theatre company must have exciting things in store for future festivals.

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