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Posted on Wed 15 Nov
Spreading the Gospel according to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the phenomenal rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has made a welcome return. And the show really does rock.
This gritty, reimagined production - in which Jesus is presented as the leader of an indie rock band, with Judas and Mary Magdalene fellow members and Pontius Pilate an ageing rock star - was originally staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2016 and won the Olivier Award for best musical revival a few months later.
Now, seven years after debuting, the show has arrived in Wolverhampton in seriously fine fettle.
With hits like I Don’t Know How To Love Him, Gethsemane, Hosanna, and of course the title song itself to recommend it, Superstar tells the story of the final few days in the life of Jesus Christ, as his teaching and preaching, performing of miracles and ruffling of the establishment’s feathers eventually sees him condemned to death...
Midlands-born Ian McIntosh plays Jesus, with Shem Omari James as Christ’s betrayer Judas, and Hannah Richardson playing Mary Magdalene. The trio take Rice & Lloyd Webber’s scintillating music and liberally sprinkle it with some magic of their own, with McIntosh in particular making his mark vocally.
Aside from Jesus, Judas and Mary, the most talked-about character in the show is undoubtedly Herod. In this production, the role is shared by Julian Clary and Timo Tatzber. It’s the latter who’s on duty in Wolverhampton, and an excellent job he makes of it too, presenting an altogether edgier interpretation of the character than Clary.
Although the musical isn’t exactly action-packed (that said, the excellent supporting cast do expend a significant amount of energy dancing and writhing their way around the stage), the power and intensity of the crown-of-thorns/crucifixion scene makes for a highly charged finale that never fails to leave audiences emotionally stirred. This was certainly the case with last night’s spectacularly energised presentation...
When it all came to an end just a few moments later, Wolverhampton stood to applaud - and quite right too. At its best, Jesus Christ Superstar is a real tour de force, and it’s fair to say that this current production is more than living up to expectations.
Reviewed by Peter Joshua on Tuesday 14 November at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, where the show runs until Saturday (18 November).
Jesus Christ Superstar returns to the Midlands in 2024 to play Stoke's Regent Theatre from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 February and Birmingham Hippodrome from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 April.
Posted on Wed 29 Nov
Posted on Tue 28 Nov
Posted on Mon 27 Nov