Jesus Christ Superstar returned to Leeds this week as part of a new touring production. Never a stranger to reinvention, this particular production welcomed back Glenn Carter whom reprised his role as Jesus alongside new additions Tim Rogers and Rachel Adedeji who played Judas Iscariot and Mary Magadalene. Set through the perspective of Judas, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of Jesus leading to his crucifixion.
Recognisable melodies from its main theme howled throughout the auditorium, backed with impressive lighting effects to an epic scale.
Absorbed by glorious power chords and an intense soundtrack, this rock opera is ever pleasing for the ears of its audiences and this particular production did not hold back which gave the show a good standing during moments in which the show felt empty in parts, particularly during its underwhelming portrayal of the overture. Recognisable melodies from its main theme howled throughout the auditorium, backed with impressive lighting effects to an epic scale.
There was a welcome return to more traditional costumes compared to its previous guerrilla forms of its 2000 conception which Glenn Carter originated his role of Jesus. Whilst it was impressive to see that Carter can still masterfully portray Jesus Christ with haunting falsetto notes,-as witnessed in his inspiring performance of Gethsemane, it sometimes left the more informed viewer with an element of ghosting of its previous inceptions which, at times, left the viewer underwhelmed. This was particularly noticeable during scenes between Pontius Pilate and Jesus where the ensemble were neglected up stage during the Thirty Nine lashes.
Needless to say, the chorus performed large ensemble numbers with impact and memorable harmonies. There were times throughout where set dancing felt forced, yet this was forgiven during such numbers as The Temple where the dramatic impact peaked at its finest point. Characters such as King Herod, as portrayed by Tom Gilling provided the shows much needed comic relief, and the same can be said for Alistair Lee who showed impressive versatility through characters such as Annas which gave good grounding for the justification of bad vs good. The new interval point was much welcomed and helped to set the dramatic pace at a more silique pace.
Jesus Christ Superstar is a show that all should be subjected to at some point in their life, mainly due to its inspiring soundtrack which helped to bring this particular production to life when at times it dipped in energy. This did not deter the audience, who gave the production a standing ovation.
Jesus Christ Superstar will be at Leeds Grand Theatre Mon 6 – Sat 11 July 2015.
Images: Pamela Raith