Energetic cast conveys joy of 'Godspell'

August 06, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

"Godspell," the popular rock account of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, is a creative, unpretentious show eminently worth doing well, which it certainly is at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater.

It is playing there Thursday through Sunday evenings through Sept. 4.

Director Michael Gilles has assembled a talented, well-intentioned cast that works extremely hard to bring the many lessons and parables across to the audience. Though somewhat variable in vocal talent, the players expend admirable amounts of physical and facial energy to convey the joy of the piece.

Peter Crews is excellent as both John the Baptist and Judas. Limber of body and of voice, Crews scampers all over the house while singing rap and other forms of vocal patterns at about 200 mph.

Christine Asero delivers "We Beseech Thee" and "Oh Bless The Lord, My Soul" stylishly in a pure soprano voice. She proves herself an adept comedian with her elastic face and flair for dialects, as in the hysterical tough-guy Italian monologue she declaims. Ms. Asero has played secondary roles elsewhere; it may be time for the local companies to consider moving her to the front.

Other fine moments include Diana Wolf's sexy vamp in "Turn Back, O Man" and the beautiful "By My Side" by Katherine Alspaw and M. J. Rafalko.

The musical talent is more variable. Kristoffer Kahn acts beautifully as Jesus, yet is often below pitch in "Save the Children".

The entire show sounded soft. The choral numbers were too subdued, and the betrayal scene was inaudible the night I saw it.

I liked "Godspell" very much, but the singers or the microphones -- or maybe both -- could use more juice.

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