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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It's hard not to be swept along by the sheer joy and enthusiasm of this show. Young St Andrews-based company Patch of Blue Theatre have updated Schwartz and Tebelak's 1971 musical to a non-specific contemporary junkyard, and its original hippyish everypeople are here overgrown children, seemingly drunk on the spirit of righteousness and brimming over with infectious energy.

The musical's set of parables from the Gospel of Matthew are delivered as a breathless sequence of tableaux, using shadow puppetry, dance, song and mime - and with audience members playing a vital role. Dragging individuals up to get involved in the action might at times draw a little too heavily on Edinburgh favourites Belt Up Theatre, but it's hard for anyone watching not to feel swept along by the open-hearted generosity of the show.

Most impressive are the musical numbers - a glorious "Day by Day" from Ellie Mason stands out, as do the choral numbers from the 12-strong cast, which really raise the roof. Tom Mackley is suitably charismatic as Jesus, and Suzanne Rooney presents a slippery Judas. Direction by Alex Howarth and Caroline McCaffrey is secure and pacey. Most memorable, though, is the sheer sense of wide-eyed wonder from all involved.

- David Kettle


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