With the luxury of an enormous cast, this production effectively reproduces the epic scale of the story, and creates some spectacular visual effects using every element of the ingeniously designed modular settings (by Karen McKeown and Hayley Grindle) and, at times, the entire auditorium becomes a performance space, in iconic ensemble moments. The show opens with the jewish travellers converging on Bethlehem for the great roman census, and not only is the stage full of migrating travellers, but all three tiers of the auditorium. The scale and the excitement of the chariot races are achieved through brilliantly conceived and choreographed movement on stage, together with sound and music from all around the theatre.
Director Lee Lyford and associate director Sita Calvert-Ennals have done an incredible job, working with such a large group, many of whom have had little or no previous theatrical experience. Where it has resulted in a variable mix of performance quality, the leads are exceptional. Matthew Hocken as Judah, and Martyn Jessop as Messala are first class, and are ably supported by Chris Greaves (Quintus), Louise Wright (Zina),Dot Barker (Amrah), Nic Rauh (Mirium) and Emer Heatley (Tiraz) amongst others, too many to mention.
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