Godspell 50th Anniversary Concert (online) - ★★★ - Until August 29, 2020


'Can we see a ray of hope?' is the question which this concert version of Godspell intends to ask. Although virtually all of the plot has been jettisoned and replaced by simple buzzwords flashed before each song, we do eventually get the message. The vocal performances are generally good, but outstanding is the beautiful singing by the trio of Jenna Russell, John Barr and Sally Ann Triplett in 'On the Willows.' Ruthie Henshall has great fun as a temptress in a bubble bath and 'Day by Day' is very effectively performed as a duet on mobile phones by Natalie Green and Ronald Brian. Most musicals tend to dip towards the end of Act Two but with Godspell Stephen Schwartz definitely kept his best work for the last fifteen minutes. In theatrical versions the plot becomes linear at this point for the first time. In this interpretation without dialogue and staging, this is difficult to accomplish, but the performance does finish exceptionally well. The concert would probably gain from a more consistent visual concept: the framing images of skeletal metal, stained glass windows are beautiful, but too often we suddenly move from an urban view, to a countryside setting or even someone's bedroom – all of which lose the feeling of the original show. At the end of the concert we were drawn to an analogy with the current Covid-19 situation: the show closes with the yearningly optimistic “We can build a beautiful city – yes we can!”

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until August 29, 2020
Hope Mill Theatre (online)
Various show times available at:
https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/godspell

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