Steven Schwartz’s (Godspell, Wicked) Tony Award winning latest offering , the 33rd longest musical in Broadway history no less, is our Fringe 2017 offering.
It’s a first for FCT, indeed may be a first production in Scotland, and is directed by Hayley Scott, our MD is, once again, Gus Harrower and Choreography is by Natasha Rose. It’s something of an FCT dream team.
First up though, we have the matter of auditions…
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.
Thom Dibdin couldn’t make Godspell but he sent his friend Hugh.
This is a really touching and well thought out critique of a show we are all intensely proud of.
Review – Godspell
Forth Childrens Theatre production of Godspell. Photo © Mark Gorman
Inverleith Church Hall (Venue 120)
Fri 2-Sat 10 Aug
Review by Hugh Simpson
Godspell may be a Fringe stalwart but FCT’s production at Inverleith Church Hall is particularly noteworthy. And not just because it is the first British appearance of the new vocal and musical arrangemements from the 2012 Broadway revival.
Gus Harrower (Jesus) is not a conventional choice for a leading man in a musical. Noticeably shorter than most of the cast, when he first takes the stage his large glasses and accent put you more in mind of Woody Allen.
However, his understated yet commanding performance, allied to his undoubted musical talent, means that he is able to bear the weight of a thankless role… (more here)
Early rehearsal of Godspell number led by Sophie Williams. (Not the greatest recording). Cast are rehearsing in the actual space we will be performing (ie on a thrust stage in amongst the audience). Similiar to Ragtime for those who saw that.
Here’s a great FCT story.
Young Laura Johnston, who made her FCT debut during Seussical bought a ticket, a year ago, to see One Direction in Glasgow.
The concert clashed with the first rehearsal of Godspell and, being a consumate professional shegave up her One Direction ticket so that she wouldn’t miss any FCT ehearsing.
What a star.
Listen to this vital new arrangement.
FCT is premiering this in the UK.
At each show we meet the cast’s parents and guardians and yesterday was the day for us to “induce” Godspell. A good showing it has to be said with some really enthusiastic parents. They were rewarded by seeing performances of “Day by Day” and “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”
I sat beside my sister Jane as the cast THUNDERED these numbers out in stunning harmony and choreographed quite wonderfully by Katie.
I have never had such a reaction to an early rehearsal performance as yesterday. The show will be presented on a set configured similarly to Ragtime and FCT aficionados will recall the impact that set up had, with every actor there to be seen, nowhere to hide.
I was actually shaking at the end of these two numbers;so impactful, so joyously was the show presented. And that’s exactly the word Ronan uses in his Fringe description of the show.
Folks you are in for one big treat.
We also had an impromptu photocall with cast and directing team (alas poor Grace Urquhart was the only one missing).
Ronan is directing with Katie on the dances (wow man). Our MD’s are new and there’s two of them and, boy, do Dan and Claire pack a punch.