Jesus Christ Superstar

"An absolute delight for the senses!"

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar has been around since 1970. The rock-pop opera is set during the final weeks of Jesus' life and sees him betrayed by Judas, portrayed as a fake and has the masses turn against him, to the point where he is crucified as an example of how not to behave to others.

It’s pretty heavy stuff, when you think about it! 

However, it’s not really about religion. It’s relevance today is surprisingly strong. It’s a story of friendship, a story of jealousy, a story of how someone can use others to rise above them, gain the power that they thought they wanted and leave disaster in their wake. Not thinking through the consequences of their actions, its what we have come to know today as cancel culture.

Tom Scutt’s design hits us immediately, as the curtain is raised upon a haze lit crucifix, (Lee Curran’s lighting design throughout is breath-taking), the mood is set and already there are goosebumps (the first of many). The band begin to play the iconic sounds of the overture, (led by Musical Director Michael Riley) and the anticipation is upon us.

Without creating any spoilers, there are some genius ideas with regard to microphone stands!

The decision to use hand held mics really shouldn’t work, but it does. Creating a rock concert within the storytelling, it doesn’t detract from the moves of the actors or the action taking place. If anything, it adds another dimension to what is already a multifaceted performance.

There really are no words to describe the talent in this cast… but we’ll try our best. 

The ensemble moves tightly to Drew McOnie’s choreography. They are sharp in their storytelling, the tiniest movements giving so much power to the overall picture. Shem Omari James as Judas is vocally effective with his mix of bitterness and regret. Hannah Richardson as Mary provides a calm amongst the angst, her soft yet high-octane voice is perfect in providing the contrast. Jad Habchi as Caiaphas and Matt Bateman as Annas are the menacing and somewhat sleezy Roman High-priests who make it their goal to destroy Jesus and everything he stands for and Ian McIntosh is a strong lead, his Gethsemane so raw that it reduced us to tears. A final mention must go to Timo Tatzber as Herod, who really makes the most of his short appearance in Herod’s song and delights the audience with his chilling, yet jolly rendition.

Overall, this is an incredible production, not only in performance, but in its design, lighting, sound, costume and make-up. It really is one that needs to be experienced first hand as an example of how live performance should be.

An absolute delight for the senses!

This show was reviewed on the 14th November 2023.  Jesus Christ Superstar runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until the 18th November 2023.  Tickets available here: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Full tour details can be found here: Jesus Christ Superstar • UK Tour • Official Website & Tickets

Review written by Rachel Louise Martin

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