The rock musical with universal appeal

Puppets, slapstick, music and dancing, a bit of magic and all the fun of a panto - the exciting rock musical Godspell , which opens in Aberystwyth Arts Centre this weekend, has it all.

This joyous musical interpretation of St. Matthew's Godspel has delighted audiences throughout the world and is wide in appeal.

The vibrant new production at the Arts Centre, by director Richard Cheshire, is all set to be a spectacular hit because it is the one musical that has never played in Mid Wales and the one Richard has always wanted to direct. He fell in love with Godspell when he saw it at 14 years of age and was taken backstage to meet the whole cast, including David Essex.

For the six-week summer season run at Aberystwyth Richard has been joined by a group of talented young professionals, and one of the UK's leading musical directors, Rob Mitchell.

The cast, a mix of English and Welsh names, includes Carys Llewellyn, Gwyneth Hopkins and Stifyn Parri, all of S4C fame, Donna Murphy and Sian Howard, and hot bloods form the English stage, Peter Bruce, Philip Aldrige, John Ramm, Sarah Weymouth and Michael Ball .

Also, a number of local people will be involved, with set designs in the talented hands of David Tinker and Tracy Spottiswoode, costumes by Sue Leet, and a chorus line of local children.

The rehearsals have gone very well, with the cast going through the by now famous score which includes Day by Day , Prepare Ye , and All Good Gifts . There was one early shock for them - Richard decided to give the show a Welsh flavour by introducing a harp and having the cast sing Day by Day in Welsh.

The story told in Godspell is like a magical party and pure escapism. Set in a junkyard theatrical playground, a clown like Jesus (JC to his friends) meets a group of young people and takes them through the Bible Stories. Without giving away too many secrets, the show is full of lovely surprises.look out for Tom, JC's little furry friends who magically appear in the show.

Godspell will be Richard's fifth summer season show at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The technical wizardry achieved in some of the earlier shows will be repeated in Godspell because Richard has got together the same technical crew as in previous years.

This summer will be a very busy time for him because, as well as directing Godspell he will also be directing Charlie's Aunt in Eastbourne for six weeks and commuting between seaside towns.

Godspell opens at Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Theatr y Werin this Saturday for a preview evening, with the first night on Monday. Tickets are now available from the Tourist Information Centre, Eastgate, Aberystwyth.

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