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Love Beyond premieres on stage at Brighton Centre

New stage musical Love Beyond, performed to an almost full house at the Brighton Centre on Sunday, received rapturous applause and cheers from the audience.

Written by Richard Haley and directed by Brighton resident Israel Oyelumade, Love Beyond tells the story of the Bible, from God’s creation of Adam and Eve to the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the theme of love running throughout.

Sophie Nicholls and Simeon Oakes as Adam and Eve in the opening sequence of the show. Photo: Simon Jay Price The musical score and lyrics were powerful and, paired with stunning vocal performances from the ensemble cast, goosebumps were guaranteed. Love Beyond managed to be simultaneously emotional and uplifting.

Photo: Simon Jay Price

Clyde Melville-Bain as the Holy Spirit in Love Beyond. Photo: Simon Jay Price

The band and orchestra conducted by Jonathan Rathbone. Photo: Simon Jay PriceThe acting was enchanting, sincere and dramatic. When Adam and Eve surrendered to temptation and ate the apple, the atmosphere in the venue could have been cut with a knife.

Peri Olufunwa as Satan. Photo: Simon Jay Price

Sophie Nicholls as Eve in Love Beyond. Photo: Simon Jay PriceA large LED display was used throughout the show and made a big visual impact, featuring graphics such as stars and flying birds. Other than this the set was minimal, with just two raised areas, meaning there was no distraction from the drama.

Standout performances included The Voice 2012 contestant J Marie Cooper, who was mesmerising as Mary Magdalene. Jesus, played by Simon Shorten, who has previously played Jean Valjean in the West End version of Les Misérables, and God, played by Kevin Jones, both displayed excellent range, power and vocal technique.

J Marie Cooper as Mary Magdalene in Love Beyond. Photo: Chris Gloag

Kevin Jones as God in Love Beyond. Photo by Chris GloagThe choreography was simple but effective, executed enthusiastically and in perfect unison.

Matt Kane and Melissa Hubert on stage in Love Beyond. Photo: Chris Gloag

A highlight of the evening was the appearance of baby Jesus, played by a particularly cute baby who was welcomed with a squeal of delight from the audience.

Katy Treharne (Mary Mother of Jesus) with Baby Jesus (played by Elias Webb) Photo: Chris GloagFar from preaching, Love Beyond successfully combined entertainment and accessibility, telling its story simply and beautifully and ensuring that the audience left the Brighton Centre with smiles on their faces.

The Nativity scene from Love Beyond. Photo: Chris Gloag

Mary (Katy Treharne) and Joseph (Benjamin Nicholls) at the birth of Jesus. Photo by Simon Jay Price

The final sequence of the show featuring the whole cast on stage. Photo: Simon Jay PriceStory used with kind permission of Gemma Hicks-Logan @Gembopp and The Brighton Argus

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