Godspell – Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch

Cast of Godspell (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, 2014)

The cast of Godspell at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Nobby Clark

Godspell continues at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch until 7 June.

Written by Stephen Schwartz and first performed in 1971, Godspell comes from the time of hippies and chants of all you need is love. The show is mainly based on the parables from the Bible’s book of Matthew and contains many traditional hymns all set to modern music

Everything in the Queen’s Theatre production, from the set to the cast, is open and inviting. You almost get the feeling that the cast wants you to join them as they dance around the theatre, and the audience shows little restraint when it comes to joining in. This is made even more inviting when the cast stays on stage during the interval, chatting and joining in conversations. It really removes the barrier between the performers and the audience, making you feel included in the show.

The staging is wonderful. There’s a large ramp that leads from the centre of the theatre onto the stage, parting the front few rows of seats, which increases the intimacy between the audience and artists. An adjacent stage is used to emphasise this closeness and there are two higher platforms that are used by musicians. The whole of the area is set out like a skater park, a direct comparison between the hippies of the 1970s and the current culture of hip hop and graffiti artists.

Once again the cut to the chase… cast members demonstrate their amazing talents, with singing, dancing and instruments. Sam Kordbacheh, who plays Jesus, has really made this season of shows at the Queen’s Theatre his own, with an amazing performance in the central role in The Great Gatsby and as Segura in Our Man in Havana. In Godspell Kordbacheh once again shows he is full of talent, particularly during his performances of ‘Save the People’ and ‘Beautiful City’.

Sean Needham takes the role of John/Judas and often uses his comedic timing through the show. Although the piece is primarily song, dance and storytelling, it does contain some comic scenes and these suit Needham’s acting with his sense of humour shining through.

Godspell marks the debut performance of three actors at the Queen’s Theatre: Deborah Hewitt, Megan Leigh Mason and Patrick Burbridge. They all give stunning performances and it is good to have them on the cut to the chase… team.

Matt Devitt’s production is certainly worth going to see and I would recommend that audiences take advantage of this Broadway quality performance.

Andy Wilkin

Readers may also be interested in:

Godspell – Lyric Theatre – Review

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