Skip to main content

Godspell

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
2 stars
Any play that gave Jeremy Irons a career is surely damned forever more. Given that we don’t even get ex Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who left this touring revival of John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz’s 1971 God-bothering musical for ‘contractual reasons,’ any chance of lightning striking twice is slim.

Because the pre-Christmas rush seems to have caused commercial theatre-land to go mad in its eagerness to offload every turkey in the shop. Paul Kerryson’s naff-looking production is as far removed from the play’s not quite counter-cultural roots at La Mama and The Roundhouse as you can get. The stripy-jumpered post-1960s flower-power whimsy captured in the sweet but hopelessly dated 1973 film version at least pursued a simplistic line of philosophical enquiry. Like a water-into-wine reversal, however, here the disciples have morphed into a troupe of twenty-first century X-Factor rejects desperate to show how versatile they are.

The parables are duly reeled out in a succession of sit-com silly voices and painfully shoehorned in Glasgow gags. Any Hallelujahs in the show’s easy-on-the-eye briskness come via a dusted-down Bacharachesque Day By Day. All Good Gifts, on the other hand, sounds peculiarly and not unappealingly reminiscent of The Wicker Man soundtrack.

One shouldn’t expect miracles, though, from a show that can’t yet muster a full set of disciples, and, with a saviour looking like a particularly angelic rent boy upstaged by a butch Judas in black leather waistcoat, this is school assembly stuff. By the time the crucifixion comes round you’re feeling the pain for all the wrong reasons. If anyone is saved here in a show unlikely to rise again, it’s Stephen Gately. Small mercies indeed.

The Herald, November 21st 2007

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…