On the surface, Godspell is a happy, clappy musical but it is also the story of the betrayal of Christ, so finding a balance between darkness and light is the key.

Director Adrian Barrett mentions in the programme notes that he and musical director Bill Pamplin were in the 1984 production and choreographer Hannah Billington did it in 1997 and they make quite a collective impact here.

It is evident that much discussion has gone into this performance which makes use of placards, subtle costume changes, lighting and gesture to convey mood and message.

It is in the gaps between the numbers, however that substance shows - the zealous smiles and the heartfelt hugs for example, and the daubing of the 'disciples' with tribal silver marks which are then wiped off at the betrayal, all of these are contemporary signs of faith that anyone can relate to and each builds meaning. 

Sometimes it is only in a look or position on stage that they get across the underlying themes of tolerance, love, prejudice, fervour and fear. In matters of belief sometimes there is only a fine line between fervour and hysteria.

Adrian asks for depth and understanding from his cast and they deliver it while being hugely entertaining too.

Euan Buddie plays Jesus with great subtlety and compassion with Tom Stevenson as the flipside of the coin as the brooding, fiery Judas. It is good to see these two stretch themselves into not just the comic and the straight guy.

When it comes to singing, Poppy Bastable, Mel Hegwill, Megan Panico-Ramos and Emily Carter gave a sublime rendition of By My Side. The Staves started on this very stage - welcome the new generation. 

Five-star reviews are becoming a bit of a regularity for the Pump House Youth Theatre but they shouldn't get complacent. I would rather they saw this as a benchmark to aspire ever heavenwards towards even bigger and better things. Having said that, if I could give this one six stars I really would.