Manifest Theatre Group Manifest Theatre Group Manifest Theatre Group
2 Oxford Road
Manningtree
Essex CO11 1BP
Tel: 01206 391309
info@manifesttheatre.co.uk
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Godspell - performed October 1987

By Stephen Schwartz

Performed with the kind permission of Music Theatre International

Director - Dennis Murfitt

Cast

(in order of appearance)

Jesus Kevin Brown
Debbie Koval
Bernie Brindley
Heather Steel
Adrian Bolton
Lesley Butcher
Hilary Robinson
Chris Mason
Colin Payne

Production Team

Val Taylor, Viv Wheatley, Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Dennis Murfitt, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Peggy Barber, Alison Brett, Jenny Glayzer, Gill Baxter, Greg Garrad, Paul Koval, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.

The Musical

This immensely successful rock opera needs little introduction, but when is was first produced on Broadway in 1971 it broke new ground in its stage treatment of the historical Jesus Christ. Based on the gospel according to St Matthew it deals with the last days of Jesus, and includes dramatised versions of several well-known parables. And yet it is something more - a religious experience, a demonstration of joy, and a celebration of the family of man. The cast are conceived as clowns, improvising scenery and costumes, and using many well known theatrical devices, pantomime, vaudeville and varied musical styles to interpret on of humanity's greatest events.

Reviews

The group’s latest production is an ambitious attempt at the immensely successful rock operas Godspell. At times it appeared the young cast was perhaps a little too ambitious with nerves showing through during the individual songs.
However, there overall performance was very good with the cast, musicians, and production team pulling off an extremely popular and enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The songs were performed with vigour and enjoyment despite the few, but soon forgotten, nervous quivers on the solos. Godspell broke new ground when it was first produced on Broadway in 1971. Based on the Gospel according to St Matthew, it deals with the last days of Jesus and includes dramatised versions of several well-known parables. Despite its apparent light-hearted approach , the rock opera gives a demonstration of joy, a celebration of man, and a totally new look at religion.
Wearing their bright clown outfits, coloured faces, and smiles, it was obvious the cast enjoyed putting on Godspell as much as the audience enjoyed watching it.

Kevin Brown played a strong role as Jesus and gave a particularly moving performance as he died on the cross. Not to be forgotten was a very professional performance by the musicians on piano, drums and guitar.
Sarah Maryon


There was just a moment at the very beginning of this successful rock opera when the cast, a blend of the very raw and the experience, had some difficulty with the spoken word. As soon as Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord burst on to the scene however, Dennis Murfitt’s cleverly-controlled presentation took wing with an infectious verve that had its audience foot-tapping and finger-clicking. The show owed much to the simple wedge-shaped lattice set backed by rainbow metallic strips that glanced and gleamed and threw coloured spangles and reflections under Bruce Emney’s imaginative lighting, and to the musical trio led by Patience Ling which kept the amazingly varied rhythm in complete sympathy with the voices out front.

Kevin Brow’s Jesus-figure had a touch of the Gene Wilders in his knees-bent, almost tongue-in-cheek approach without in any way surrendering the integrity of the character.
Lesley Butcher, she of the glittering silver wig, used her sweet slight voice to subtle effect in Day by Day and the mauve-haired Debbie Koval, after an initial bout of nerves, fairly exuded energy and zip and with experience is clearly going to be a distinct acquisition.
Bernie Brindley, looking like a prototype Viking than ever even in clown’s kit, attacked We Beseech Thee with relish but to make him the robber in The Good Samaritan and also the land-lord of the inn was too much. Allison Hawkins sold the sultry Turn Back O Man song with all the sex-appeal of her own personality handicapped by the mistaken decision to retain her clown costume.
Colin Payne loomed large and hirsute in all aspects with most impact in the Last Supper and Crucifixion sequences and the remainder of the company all had significant contributions to make to a lively colourful entertainment.
Jimmy James

Photo Shoot

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