Presented by Irregular Productions and Lydian Productions
Reviewed 10 May 2018
This re-vamped version of the production was first produced in 2011 with mixed reviews. As with all shows changes will be better received by some and although they do not significantly change the show the difference is noticeable.
Director Karen Sheldon has put together a great team. Martin Cheney as Musical Director has got the best out of some really good voices and as usual Kerry-Lynne Hauber uses some interesting moves in the choreography. The design by David Lampard gives the cast plenty to work with, and Brad Sax’s lighting follows the many movements well. The excellent band was well balanced with the cast in Jamie Mensforth’s sound mix. The opening uses the isolation of the mobile generation to show the need for connection and love. Hence The Prologue is confusing but from the start of Prepare Ye we know where we are. Based on the gospel according to Matthew this is the core message. Joshua Angeles gains the attention with his clear voice and stage presence.
Mark Oates has been Jesus in several productions and fits into the role with ease, but that magnificent voice is not a drawback. Scarlett Anthony brings sensitivity and depth to her version of Day by Day and Katie Packer’s vocal strength is just right for Learn Your Lessons Well. Jemma Allen is given Bless the Lord and shows us her vocal talents before Mark and Joshua (as Jesus and John) entertain with All For The Best. All Good Gifts by Ron Abelita and Light of the World by Harry Nguyen, both well sung, come before interval. The comedy between songs is topical and lightens the mood.
The second act has Ruby Pinkerton giving a strong rendition of Turn Back O Man and a gentle version of Side By Side delivered by Maya Miller. Nick Munday ups the pace with We Beseech Thee. Mark then brings the message back on point with Beautiful City. On The Willows, one of my favourites was a great way to bring the performance to its close.
While I am not convinced that this version is an improvement, I did enjoy the performance by these talented performers.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: The Parks Theatre
Season: 9 – 19 May 2018
Duration: 2 hr