Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1996 musical, set here in 1950’s Louisiana, triumphantly breaks new ground for Lytham Amateur Operatic Society, renamed as Junction 4.
Producer Mandy Hall draws the very best from the children in the cast in a show where Lloyd Webber skillfully mixes musical styles, from wistful ballads to rock ‘n’ roll and power anthems.
Erin James, Lewis James and a silver-voiced Alice Irving excel as the children who believe they have found a bloodied Jesus sleeping in the family barn. Their harmony singing in particular is first class.
Darren Skelly as The Man is suitably both enigmatic and tortured. His powerful voice makes the most of some Gothic solos while, in marked contrast, a tuneful Bernard Kennedy is pleasingly warm and straightforward as the children’s widowed father Boone.
There is accomplished support from Simon Slater and Shannen Emms and both the adult and children’s chorus are right on the money with No Matter What and When Children Rule The World.
Musical director Peter Buckley and his band support impeccably, with Christine and Stephen Lea’s woodwind to the fore.
A little more grime and raggedness would have boosted the feel of the setting, but the audience was hooked throughout.