Wandering in to New York John the Baptist (David Haskell) summons a group of struggling young people with a horn, calling them away from their everyday lives in the city to come and follow Jesus (Victor Garber). Forming a diverse acting group, they act out their own musical versions of the parables as they wander around the city which eventually leads to the last supper and Jesus' crucifixion in a scrap yard.
I need to paint you a picture of my life and it won't take long which when I think about it is kind of sad. I was born in Britain in 1972, I have never been to America and whilst I no longer go to church I was raised in a family which went to church every Sunday and so have a limited knowledge of the Bible. Now it is over 40 years since "Godspell" was made and I have only just watched it for the first time and it was a curious experience because in truth watching it now for the first time is to watch it completely out of context.
So what do I think about "Godspell"; well for one I doubt many a teen who were to watch it now would be able to recognize the parables which it dramatizes and at the same time probably wouldn't see why it enraged some members of the community when it was released back in 1973 with Jesus in a Superman shirt and clown make up. But with memories of church on Sunday I recognized various parables which it dramatizes and in truth didn't find it insulting or anything, in fact it is an entertaining way of telling these parables in a seriously quirky manner.
But in truth "Godspell" is too quirky for me and that is because I was born too late to appreciate the 70s look and vibe which is such a big part of the movie. Despite that you have to say that all the actors, the majority of which I didn't recognize delivered enthusiastic and entertaining performances. Plus this is a musical which takes the rock opera form which means there are many memorable musical numbers which forty years later are still enjoyable. And "Godspell" I am sure offers up another level of appeal, a nostalgic appeal for those who lived in New York when this was made and can think back to how it was.
What this all boils down to is that even for someone watching "Godspell" for the first time it is still an entertaining experience with a great musical side. But for me the one thing which didn't work for me is that the quirkiness of its 70s vibe was at times too much although I am sure many who were teens and young adults in the 70s will find this adds to its appeal.