Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 9. 1ts May 1973
The Wellington premiere of Godspell, the long awaited (in some quarters) musical based on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, could not even raise a full house. And not surprisingly, for it is a superficial show not unlike the fur coated "one way" badge types liberally sprinkled around the theatre.
Much of the dialogue is ripped straight off the biblical parables. But it is all out of context, and with Christ as a clown among nine goons, it portrays a message quite different to that of the original.
The Jesus freaky message is a work-within the system, forgive and forget type message. It is a superimposition of Matthew's gospel on contemporary society, not the re-interpretation that is necessary. Godspell challenges nothing in the present order of society.
'If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two'. Such a message condones blind acceptance of their oppressive situations by the oppressed. Several times the show portrays oppressive master/servant relationships. It not only fails to provide scope for restructuring these type of relationships, it actively condones keeping them in the structure of society.
Godspell is a good gymnastic display, not unlike the clown shows in many circuses. However, the acting was stilted and had little relation to the message intended.
The musical content of the show was its one redeeming feature—its variety encompassed the spectrum of musical tastes. However, musically the show would have impressed more had less been mimed.
Godspell is a show Bible Classes and C.U. cell groups will not doubt rave over. It is best left to them.