Godspell

Godspell is one of composer Stephen Schwartz’s lesser known musicals. Think Wicked meets Jesus Christ Superstar. Mixing pop-rock with parables from the gospel according to Matthew, the narrative is always somewhat lacking. It’s essentially a series of standalone solos and big ensemble numbers. The only named characters in the show are Jesus, Judas and John the Baptist. Everyone in the ensemble tends to assume the character of the solo they sing. It’s a show very open to innovation and reworking, depending on who is in the cast.

Choice moments of powerful ensemble singing would have brought this show up to an outstanding level.

Summit High School definitely put their own personal stamp on this show, with plenty of very current jokes thrown in. The Hamilton spoof rap went down particularly well, as did the razor sharp impression of Donald Trump in the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus. Kim Kardashian, Celine Dion and Voldemort also appear, amongst others. It’s a perfect show performed by millennials for millennials.

The entire cast takes on all singing and choreography with an immense amount of energy and pizzazz. Choreography is sharp and well-timed, and there is no weak link amongst their huge ensemble: a thirty-strong cast who somehow never look cramped on stage. Costumes are bright and colourful, reflecting the vibrancy and feel-good-fun of the show.

Unfortunately, at times the energy being expended on stage left the sound slightly lacking. Since the show is essentially a string of numbers threaded together by a thin narrative and some jokes, it would have been nice to see more emphasis placed on creating dynamics within ensemble singing. There were certain ensemble numbers that stood out head and shoulders above the rest, and these were predominantly when the cast weren’t running around the auditorium.

Solos were by and large very well delivered. Judas’ (Zack Olson) solo On The Willows was beautifully delivered with soft backing harmonies from some of the male cast members. Jesus (Sean McManus) also has a lovely tone. He performed throughout with a huge dose of charisma and is a really engaging performer.

Summit High School take on this slightly odd show with a huge sense of joy. Choice moments of powerful ensemble singing would have brought this show up to an outstanding level.

Reviews by Ellie Coote

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Performances

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The Blurb

Godspell is the popular hit musical composed of parables from the Gospel of Matthew. Boasting a score of chart-popping songs, a community of followers share Jesus’s messages of love, redemption and tolerance through games, songs and dance.

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