Jesus Christ Superstar
Alex Wood | 26 Jun 2014 17:53pm
It took me some time to work out that – having seen lots of musicals over the years – I had never seen this show. More to the point I seem to have missed the ‘traditional’ version (which I don’t think I ever fancied seeing anyway), jumping straight to this updated and I guess, far more rock and roll version, most famously performed in the recent arena tour which featured Melanie C, Tim Minchin et al. So, a journey into the unknown!
LAOS’ production of this show was a joy from start to finish.
Overall the level of performance was top-class, both from principals and chorus. The whole cast very clearly knew what they had to do and did it with great skill and energy.
Wil Neale impressed as Jesus, ‘just a man’ who has been carried away by his own popularity, which makes this a demanding role to play. Thomas Urch was Judas, again played with the subtlety needed to convince the audience that there is much more to him than the mere traitor he is traditionally thought to be. Both roles called for very demanding singing performances which were confidently combined with some fine acting.
Also of note is Helen-Mary Boyce’s performance as Mary, not least because of her beautiful rendition of ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’, a very well-known song from this show, which she was clearly determined to make her own for this production.
Ian Hamilton – a big man with a voice to match – was perfectly cast as Caiaphas and Tom Mottram was an ideal Pilate, a man who wants to act within the law to get rid of a man who does not appear to have broken any law.
As well as the 9 principals the show also had a company of 27, who played many and various parts over the evening. (I especially enjoyed Herod’s cocktail party, as well as ‘Superstar’). All worked very hard; singing, dancing and acting their socks off.
For an amateur group the set was ambitious and professional and lighting was of a high standard too.
Great credit must also go to Christine Tarry and her team for not only assembling a huge number of top-class costumes but also (credit to the cast too) enabling so many very quick changes.
The orchestra, led by musical director Steve Duguid were on top form. Steve had also clearly done a great deal of work with the cast on the musical side to ensure such good performances throughout the cast.
One criticism. In quieter songs there was no problem with diction, which was beautifully clear. I was concerned though – especially in the first half – that in songs where the orchestra had more volume, the words seemed to get lost, which was a pity. I know this was mentioned by more than one person in the interval and this did not seem such a problem in the second half so it may be that this problem (in my experience a fairly common one, even in professional shows) has been solved: just a ‘first night glitch’. I hope so.
Greg Pitchery, his production team and the cast are to be congratulated on an excellent production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
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- : 25/06/2014