Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
Richard Carrol – Musical Direction by Victoria Falconer
by Sally Dashwood – Set designed by Emma White
by Peter Rubie – Sound designed by Jarrad Payne.
Stefanie Caccamo, Jeremi Campese, Gillian Cosgriff, Alfie Gledhill, Abe
Mitchell, Chaya Ocampo, Billie Palin, Quinton Rich, Jane Watt and musicians
Maia Marsh, Tim Wilson and Jarrad Payne.
Theatre, Sydney from 14TH October – 6th November 2022.
on 28th October reviewed by Bill Stephens.
some air on the pleasant outdoor balcony of the Hayes Theatre prior to the
performance I spoke to the woman standing beside me. “What attracted you to the
show?” I enquired. “Oh, I’m the mother of Jesus” she replied. And in answer to
my second question, her name wasn’t Mary but Bridget.
Director, Richard Carroll has been carving out
quite a name for himself as an innovative director with a talent for
re-inventing old musicals for new audiences. The fact that by the time I got to
see “Godspell” the season at the Hayes had already been sold out attests to the
success of his efforts.
has always been popular in Australia. Indeed the first production in the world
after the Off-Broadway opening in 1971 was in Melbourne in the Playbox Theatre where
it opened in November 1971 with a cast headed by Christopher Pate, Colleen
Hewitt, Colette Mann and George Spartels.
was this production that a second company was formed for Sydney which opened in
the Richbrooke Theatre in April 1972 with a cast that included John Waters,
Peita Toppano, Mary Rhone, Rod Dunbar and Hilton Bonner. John O’May replaced
John Waters when this company toured. These
productions ran from 1971 to 1974 and there have been countless professional
and amateur revivals since.
|Quinton Rich - Abe Mitchell in "Godspell"
production however Carroll has discarded the traditional trappings of hippydom
associated with this show, and moved the action into a run-down cabaret room,
complete with pole-dancing apparatus. Here a group of lost souls gather in
search of some direction for their lives.
Jesus arrives in the form of a charismatic young
woman (Billie Palin) dressed in an Elvis Presley jump suit, who proceeds to
conduct a series of workshops based on
the biblical parables.
of “Godspell” has always been Stephen Schwartz engaging hit-packed score, and
Carroll has cast his production with an outstanding group of multi-talented singer/musicians
who between them play no fewer than 40 instruments.
|Stefanie Caccamo performs "All Good Gifts" in "Godspell
Director, Victoria Falconer, who also performs in the show, draws on these
skills to devise some glorious arrangements. Memorable among them was Stephanie
Caccamo’s breathtaking “All Good Gifts” initially accompanied hauntingly by Jerimi
Campese on single cello.
Almost all appear
to play piano at some point, while others accompany with guitar, accordion, keyboards,
or whatever appears to be at hand, including a musical saw for “All For the
Best”. The group harmonies throughout
are glorious, and all perform Sally Dashwood’s exuberant choreography with
time-wasting audience-participation missed the mark at this performance, and
Falconer’s clever keyboard turn, where she has the cast carry the keyboard up
and down the Theatre’s stairway while she continues to play and sing, is entertaining,
but holds up the show and feels out-of-place.
however, this entertaining and provocative production succeeds in its aim of
breathing new life in to a show, very much of its time, but still with
something to say. It’s also a splendid showcase for the talents of its
Images by Philip Erbacher
This review also appears in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW. www.artsreview.com.au