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The Messiah

6th to 9th March 2002.

NWN review.

Sincerity, belief and passion

'THE MESSIAH', performed by Rock Solid, at The Corn Exchange, from Wednesday, March 6 to Saturday, March 9

Musicals about the life of Christ have always been popular. The Mysteries, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Godspell' are examples of this genre. The latest version of the bible story is 'The Messiah', written by local playwright Mark Broadhurst and composed by Cardiff-based Mathew Bird.

It is performed by Rock Solid, a community group based at the Kennet Christian Centre. The group is made up of people of all ages, from many churches and backgrounds and their aim is to proclaim the truth of the scriptures and the good news of Jesus Christ and in so doing promote Christian Art in the local community. They certainly achieved that.

The story of course traces the life of Christ but in this version we learn a little more about Jesus (Vince Giles) and his relationship with Joseph, nicely portrayed by David Salter who had a strong stage presence. Mary was sensitively played by Kate Robinson.

This was an ambitious production using all the excellent technical facilities of the Corn Exchange to the full. The set was simply designed; rostra and boxes, multi-coloured flags flown in, star cloths, dry ice and mist - quite a challenge.

The lighting effects were most impressive particularly when the Angel, beautifully sung by Karen Mitchell, appeared. The choreography was well executed and effective.

As for the musical numbers I particularly liked the ballad 'Why me Lord?' and Gary Daley's powerful rendition of 'I want to find him'. Alan Sheldon was the decadent King Herod complete with his in-line skating, young entertainers, would-be contenders for Starlight Express! The wise men certainly cut a dash in their bowler-hatted routine in 'Another King but Me'.

It was impressive to see so many families involved. Director, Mark Broadhurst must be pleased with his efforts. The whole company worked well, but particular mention must go to Dominique Mountney This young girl simply oozed talent, constantly working, always in character, she certainly got my 'Oscar'. Perhaps some of the voices were not quite up to scratch, but musical director Jacky Potts had worked hard and the sincerity, belief and passion of this bible musical shone through.