Music: Andrew LLoyd-Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Director: Timothy Sheader
Choreographer: Drew McOnie
Finally, the rest of the UK gets the chance to see the Olivier Award-Winning re-imagination by Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Revolutionary when it was first released as a concept album in 1970, it is still astonishing that a musical about the Passion of Christ would break records around the world and remain one of the best-loved shows of all time.
Seen through the eyes of Judas, it re-tells the story of the last few weeks of Jesus’ life.
The production licks along at a fantastic pace under the direction of Timothy Sheader. The tight direction breathes new life into the work. Drew Mconie’s choreography is fantastically energetic and modern. The set, adapted from the Open Air version is simplistic, but effective and the costumes contemporised versions of Middle Eastern garb. The use of on-stage microphones, gives the production a gig-like, rock-y feel. The entire staging is phenomenally effective.
Essential to the success of any production is the central casting of Jesus and Ian McIntosh is a star (not unexpected as he’s a stand-out in everything he appears in). His soaring, powerful vocals and intense but sensitive acting bring a relatable human aspect to a revered, mythologised figure. McIntosh is ably supported by a supremely and universally talented cast: Hannah Richardson is a fine-voiced Mary who radiates a calm inner strength; Shem Omari James is an effective Judas, especially in his higher range. Jad Habchi’s Caiaphas, Matt Bateman’s Annas and Ryan O’Donnell’s Pilate are all knock-out as is the actor performing Simon Zealotes who unfortunately isn’t identified in the cast notes. Julian Clary as Herod, also delivers solid-gold camp in the musicals only moment of light relief.
This is a first class production, with exceptional quality in every aspect of its creation. Don’t miss this if you can, it is an absolute privilege to watch.
Runs until 21 October 2023 | Image: Contributed