Godspell, Motcombe Community Players at St Mary’s Church

11073353_610282559107804_7732962429625772094_nTHE rock musical Godspell, first seen in New York in 1971 as a student project, is based mainly on the parables of the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke, and was created for a theatre setting.

Performing it in a church, as Motcombe Community Players are doing this week, inevitably gives the show a different atmosphere, and one that a transformation to a disused circus tent does little to dispel.

Rosie King’s production, which includes many familiar actors, singers and dancers from the locality, really brings the action into the audience, as the brightly-clothed disciples and Jerusalemites follow Jesus through the church as he tries to explain the meanings behind the parables.

Musical Director David Grierson has not only schooled a splendid 42-strong choir, but coaxed some fine and uninhibited singing from the cast, which at times hits peaks of thrilling gospel sound.

The Five Loaves Band, David with guitarist Ed Lee, bassist Richard Clarke, drummer Dan Kelleher and Fiona Johnson on second keyboard, plays everything from heavy rock to boogie-woogie, and is occasionally augmented by (disciple) Sam Skey on guitar and mandolin.

The passion and conviction with which the familiar story is told gathers momentum during the show, from the John the Baptist entrance singing the haunting Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord through to the inevitable and prophesied ending on the Cross.

Godspell was not written as a “heavy” show, and Rosie King’s cast captures the tangible camaraderie, excitement and shock of the Passion, taking the audience with them every step of the way.

It is an ensemble piece, and each member of the cast has his or her own moment in the limelight. But it would be impossible not to single out Philip White’s charismatic Judas, Mark Blackham’s powerful Baptist and Martin Porter’s increasing tension as his fate approaches.

This is a real community show for Easter, and congratulations to all involved.


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