Tag Archives: Musical

GODSPELL — by Eagle House at Wilde Theatre

It’s Lent so we decided to get “churched up” this week.

We headed to the excellent Wilde Theatre, at South Hill Park to see the Eagle House [ School in Sandhurst] present their GODSPELL.

The 1971 show with music by Grammy award winning Stephen Schwartz [Enchanted ] and a loose script based on the Gospel of Saint Matthew ( originally re-envisioned by playwright John-Michael Tebelak) is a popular show for touring companies and has enjoyed many revivals.

The structure of the GODSPELL musical is a series of parables interspersed by rock arias that have been inspired by the Book of Psalms.

The structure of the musical is a series of parables interspersed by rock arias that have been inspired by the Book of Psalms.

The original London production starred characters like Julie Covington, David Essex, Jeremy Irons and Marti Webb. We were fortunate enough to have seen the original West End Wyndhams production back in 1972. But we love to see new productions and were excited to see the Eagle House show.

In the Seventies the stage show was a fluid and conceptual performance. It borrowed elements from dance, music and circus to tell the story of “Christ’s Passion”.

In the early days of the stage-show the figure of Christ was dressed as a clown. His “tribe” were portrayed as a group of irresponsible, long-haired hippies.

Now the hippie clothing is gone, because today’s youth movements tend to be associated more with athletic trainers and sportswear. The younger elements of the Eagle House Godspell Team wore printed t-shirts with the hash-tagged “Godspell logo” while main cast members wore distinctive tartans.

The magnificent Wilde Theatre is perfect for this kind of innovative, unpretentious presentation. At Godspell the audience was seated on all four sides of the staging.

After the exultant sound of a brass shofar the audience and cast “Prepared” for the “Way of the Lord”. This first song was an exceptionally compelling and enthusiastic number, sung by the whole cast [all five teams] who circled the newly baptised Christ in a spiritual state. Followers were given rubber wristbands to show their affiliation and discipleship.

Exceptionally compelling and enthusiastic…

A characteristic of the earliest shows, and all theatrical productions since, has been topicality.

Once we saw Godspell during the period known as the Three-Day Week, this was in the “power-cut Seventies” and the big joke was that it didn’t matter how dark things got because the audience was “The light of the World.”

Similarly, during the storytelling from Eagle House we had mentions of Facebook, Premier Inn, Justin Bieber and Fake News.

And of course the big, rich baddie (before “All for the Best” ) was Donald Trump.

Ben Trunck, perhaps shorter in stature than we expected, played a fascinating Jesus character — full of vivid personality. While Mark Dickin interpreted Judas skulking presence perfectly.

A feeling of “loving community” encompassed everything…

Each year group of Eagle House wanted to stage their own parable and musical number — so this meant the show was a wonderful consolidation of excellent sketches — each interconnected with the next.

The overall experience, from the perspective of the audience, was a feeling of “loving community” that encompassed everything.

Day By Day” always was — and still is — the most memorable song from the show and in Basingstoke the number was handled intelligently and with sympathy.

All Good Gifts” was brilliantly choreographed and elegantly efficient. Also, at one point, after “Save the People” we had an army of scary zombies grabbing at souls…

There was humour, movement, excitement and tenderness throughout the show — with great dramatic use of simple objects, like the coloured blocks.

Our favourite song was “On The Willows” — it came after the Last Supper scene. Psalm 137 — from which the song is taken — has been set to music by several composers over the years and the lament found in Godspell is possibly the best of all of them. The Eagle House vocalists performed the difficult harmonies with distinction.

This was an excellent production.

All 128 cast members [ages 9 to 13] should be congratulated, as well as their staff at Eagle House and the committed parents who made it all possible.

5 Stars

Words: @neilmach 2017 ©
Links: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SouthHillParkArtsCentre

Godspell at The Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park was ann amateur production presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd


Little Shop of Horrors at Old Windsor

Little Shop of Horrors

The Riverside Players summer show for 2008 will be Little Shop of Horrors. Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Based on the film by Roger Corman. Directed by Susan Bell, Musical Direction by Robert Wicks.

The show will be performed at the Memorial Hall, Old Windsor, from 25th to 28th June 2008.

Doors 7:30P BOX OFFICE 07717 671765 http://www.riversideplayers.com


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AdPontes is Staines own arts & lifestyle magazine

5 Things- This Week in Staines


Travel to ‘Havana’ in Woking

Havana Rakatan - Woking

Havana Rakatan, Woking Theatre Tue May 13-Sat May 17 2008

A dazzling dance spectacular direct from Cuba
Havana Rakatan – Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 May 2008 New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Direct from a sell-out run last summer in the West End, Havana Rakatan is now bringing all the heat of a Cuban summer to Woking. From the sexy, spontaneous rumba to the slick footwork of the cha-cha-cha, this is a show that’s guaranteed to get head’s nodding and feet-tapping. Featuring one of Cuba’s most popular bands live on stage, this is a captivating and colourful journey through the dance and music of a truly unique country.

Box Office: 0870 060 6645


Go into the Enchanted Woods at Sunbury

Into the Woods

Into the Woods- Riverside Arts Centre, Sunbury, 14th – 17th May £8

A Musical by Stephen Sondheim

Riverside Youth Theatre
14th-17th May 2008
Riverside Arts Centre

Into the Woods is an award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and premiered on Broadway in 1987. Bernadette Peters’ performance as the Witch, and Joanna Gleason’s portrayal of the Baker’s Wife, brought acclaim to the production during its original Broadway run.

Inspired by Bruno Bettelheim’s 1976 book, The Uses of Enchantment, the musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them further to explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, tied together by an original story involving a Baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, and including references to several other well-known tales.

A revival at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio in Covent Garden (with Clive Rowe) had a limited run from June 14 – June 30 2007. This is the second Sondheim musical to be staged by the company, following 2003’s Sweeney Todd.

This performance is brought to you by the Riverside Youth Theatre at Riverside Arts Centre, Sunbury-on-Thames
Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th May 2008 at 8pm Tickets £8
Box Office: 01932 779686

Riverside Arts Cente
59 Thames Street





Go to chuckle at Walton- Comedy Night

Rob Deering at Walton

Comedy at Walton, Rob Deering & Co, Riverhouse Barn, Fri 16th May 8PM

Comedy at Riverhouse Barn
Gallery Studio
Manor Road, Walton-on-Thames KT122PF

Box Office 01932 253354

Local lad Rob Deering has been described as one of the leading stand-ups of his generation [Time Out] working since 2000 and a favourite at the Edinburgh Festival since 2003. Rob is famous for his ‘classic rock’ based routine and observational humour seen from a 30’s something perspective.

At the mike:

Rob Deering, Dan Atkinson & Kevin Bridges
Friday 16th May 8pm

also, note your diary for 20th June…

John Gordillo, Noel Britten & Steve Williams
Friday 20th June 8pm



Go to see the Fourmustgetbeers Playing at Slough

The Fourmustgetbeers at Slough

The Fourmustgetbeers- Sat 17 May Rising Sun, Slough 2008

The Fourmusgetbeers are establishing themselves as one of the best bands on the pub scene around the West London area. After a number of personnel changes the line up now consists of, Mitch, vocals/guitar, and Paul bass/vocals, Andy lead guitar, Dave drums, and featuring Oded keyboards. The boys play covers covering four decades, classic rock to punk ,funk and always the unexpected songs that make you go (I know this one! What the hell is it called?) They play for fun and have fun playing, which reflects in their superb live performances.

If you like The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Whitesnake, The Clash, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, ACDC, ZZ Top, Ozzy, Black Label Society and lots of BEER you should love this!



Listen to the Sound of Youth

Camberley Youth Orchestra

16 & 17 May 2008 at 7:30 pm Camberley Theatre, Knoll Road, Camberley

Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra

Date: 16 May 2008 – 17 May 2008
Starts at: 19:30
This event will be held at: Camberley Theatre, Knoll Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3SY

Friday 16th May – In Support of The Rotary Club of Camberley – 7.30pm
Saturday 17th May – Celebrating 25 Years of Making Music – 7.30pm

Come and enjoy these talented young musicians play a variety of music – Big Band Style!

Please note: Tickets cannot be booked through the normal Box Office, only by calling Mike Wells on 01276 506788


Get Your Tickets for Beck Theatre, Hayes

The Beck Theatre
Grange Road

Lord of the Rings at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings
Theatre Royal Drury Lane

At last I have managed to get to see Lord of the Rings on stage. 3 hours long in 3 acts with a 20 minute interval. I was like many (but not all) who was there to see just ‘how they do it.’

J. R. R. Tolkein embarked on writing the epic work in stages (between 1937 and 1949) against a background of totalitarianism (a specially bred Orc army), industrial power leading to world war (the end of the ‘Golden Age’) and the allied victory over a common enemy (the battle at the Black Gate of Mordor.) But Tolkein was also conscious that he wanted to record a ‘very English’ kind of mythology similar to European mythologies such as Norse (pantheon of the gods), Anglo-Saxon (Beowulf) or even making reference to the Germanic (Nibelungenlied or the Ring Cycle.) It is clear that the Ring refers to the notion of absolute power the premise being that anyone who seeks to gain absolute worldly power will inevitably be corrupted by it.

To create a performance of an epic-fantasy spanning nine hours and fit for a theatre audience is not inconceivable (Richard Wagner’s ‘The Ring cycle’ has been playing since 1876) but the truly epic enormity of the project (in both a Brechtian sense and also  in a very practical sense) has, until now, been impossible to tackle.

Full-length stage musical adaptations of each of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) were produced in Cincinnati, Ohio. These first productions suffered from poor funding and were not successful. Subsequent productions were better received and these inspired the London-based theatre producer Kevin Wallace and his partner, Saul Zaentz (best picture Oscars for and Amadeus 1984, as well as for The English Patient 1996,) stage and film rights-holder and producer of the animated film version of 1978 — in association with Toronto theatre-owner David Mirvish and concert promoter Michael Cohl, to produce the stage musical adaptation in 2006. The book and lyrics were written by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus, and the music was by A. R. Rahman (Bombay Dreams 2002) and Finnish folk-music band Värttinä, collaborating with Christopher Nightingale.

This original production (for Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre,) was promoted as a spectacle of unusual scale. But the size and high-cost of the production, mixed with some very poor reviews, led to the collapse of the project after only 6 months. The writers and producers went back to the drawing-board and came up with a concept that was slightly shorter, more enthusiastic and very cautious (with the longest ‘preview period’ ever attempted in British theatre. This final product (costing in excess of £25 million) is the most ambitious and expensive theatre production ever to have been attempted outside Las Vegas.

What’s it like? The production starts promptly (you are told to get into your seats 15 minutes early) and you go straight to Middle Earth (the Shires to be exact.) The naturalistic woodland setting adds mystery and extra dimension to the stage. The music is folksy and cheerful (dramatic and operatic when the mood requires) and, although not really remarkable or memorable, it provides ample emotional background and occasional leitmotifs.

The real treats were the “how will they do it?” moments. I won’t spoil it for you but Gandalf’s fight at the bridge of Khazad-dûm and the monster at the Lair of Shelob were two of the most memorable and truly satisfying scenes I have ever witnessed in a musical theatre production.

The use of real deus ex machina (elves tend to literally drop in and float back up heavenwards) and the acrobatic assaults by the armies of orcs constantly add thrills to proceedings. You never feel bored- I was at the edge of my seat all the way through.

What did they miss out? Well, I am pretty sure that most female members of the audience were pleased that the big set-piece battle scenes were not there. These take up a huge proportion of the Peter Jackson films. Also, there are no epic poems and verse. The musical tends to take the big motifs (Elves looking after the Hobbits or the ‘smallness’ and ‘cheerfulness’ of the Hobbits in relation to Humans) and runs with these. Obviously, all the major plot elements are still there but there is no sign of ‘wormtongue’ who should have been corrupting King Théoden and there was no Tom Bombadil. ‘Fatty’ Bolger seemed to be missing and the Ringwraiths seemed to be able to find the Hobbits without the decoy scene.

I was pleased to see so may young people at the show. The films and the games have made Middle Earth seem real to a whole new set of fans. This ‘computer generation’ seemed to enjoy the theatrical production as much as the older ‘readers’. All-in-all, hugely enjoyable fun and very good value for money.

Arwen is played by Rosalie Craig (Doctors, Grease Monkeys etc)
Gandlaf by Malcolm Storry (Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders etc.)
Galadriel by Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady etc.)
Frodo by James Loye (TV’s Dunkirk)
Sam by Peter Howe (original Toronto cast)

Monday evenings at 7.00pm
Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Saturday matinees at 2.00pm
Thursday matinees at 2.00pm from 28 June
Extra matinees on Monday 24 and Monday 31 December at 1.30pm
No evening performance 24 December.
No performances 25 December

Prices from just £15