Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar concentrates on the Gospel's accounts of Jesus' last week before his death. It begins with his arrival to Jerusalem accompanied by his disciples and ends with his crucifixion.
The set was impressive- the cast were encircled in a giant wooden crown that hung between large engraved pillars at either side; the lighting was symbolically shone through the crown making the stage a very haunting sight indeed. The songs will appeal to any rock lover as the musical backdrop adds a gritty and modern edge to this iconic tale.
Glenn Carter was sheer perfection as Jesus Christ- his part was vocally challenging as his solos and duets required him to hit some extremely high notes which he expertly controlled. Dressed in ankle length white robes with long curly hair he embodied the image of Jesus that we are all very familiar with. His solo before the intermission 'Gethsemane' was nothing short of stunning, leaving you impatient for the second act.
Jodie Steele confidently took over the role of Mary Magdalene for the night and again her solo 'I don't know how to love him' was beautiful.
It was a pleasure to see Rhydian Roberts years after his appearance in The X Factor and despite his highly successful singing career- he looked right at home on the stage as the formidable Pontius Pilate.
This rock opera received a lot of attention when it first came out, both negative and positive and in some sense I can see why. It tells the tragic story of Jesus in a very colourful and sometimes jovial way, which is something audiences were not accustomed to or prepared for.
An example of this was Herod's Song, performed by Tom Gilling which was camp and flamboyant- certainly unexpected and completely changed the tone of the musical up until that point; however it was light relief after watching a very heavy first act. I much preferred the second half for this reason, as it offered a few moments of respite before the harrowing scene that followed.
The crucifixion was expectedly difficult to watch- and you couldn't hear a pin drop in the theatre as Glenn Carter screamed, coughed and spluttered his way through the scene while being suspended on the cross. Of all the performances I have seen on stage, this scene is one I will never forget.
I come from a generation who attend church far less than that of our parents and grandparents, so this is a means of having a Biblical story told in an engaging and interesting way and for those audience members who are not particularly religious, it will appeal to them as much as it will older generations.
Jesus Christ Superstar is both entertaining and educational and will no doubt continue to inform people in an appealing medium about Jesus' story for years to come.
Tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre