MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Jesus Christ Superstar – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics: Tim Rice

Director: Tim Sheader

Following successful runs in London at Regents Park Open Air Theatre and the Barbican, and a US tour, the Regents Park Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstaris now on a UK tour. This production whilst boasting talented cast members and some wonderful creative elements can often feel a little style over substance. Regardless, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s ever popular music and lyrics shines through.

Tim Sheader’s production strips the musical back to something much more akin to a rock concert, which is in line with what the show was originally set to be, but still manages to be visceral and powerful. Tom Scutt’s costumes an intriguing mix of modern pieces whilst still evocative of Biblical attire. His set design fills most of the stage with a catwalk in the shape of a cross which leaves limited space for Drew McOnie’s choreography. McOnie’s Olivier nominated choreography is energetic and engaging to watch, but can at times seem a little overly abstract. Lee Curran’s lighting design, despite an over usage of very bright lights shining straight into the audience, creates an atmospheric setting and Nick Lidster for Autograph balances the vocals with the live band perfectly.

This current touring production features Ian McIntosh, Shem Omari James and Hannah Richardson as the leading trio of Jesus, Judas and Mary respectively. McIntosh makes the role his own, delivering some excellent vocals and doing complete justice the infamously challenging song Gethsemane. He leans into Jesus’ pain and torment brilliantly in a way your reviewer hasn’t seen before. James’ Judas is a little self righteous rather than purely angry. He does deliver some strong vocals throughout the show, but the rock style doesn’t necessarily come to him as easily as it does to others in the cast. Richardson’s vocals throughout are utterly stunning, providing a fabulous rendition of I Don’t Know How To Love Him.

Some of the strongest performances in the show, however, come from the supporting cast. Ryan O’Donnell is perfect as the conflicted Pilate, delivering a lovely rendition of Pilate’s Dream, accompanying himself on electric guitar. Jad Habchi and Matt Bateman are both great as Caiaphas and Annas respectively, delivering contrasting and outstanding vocals. Timo Tatzber as Herod is great fun and feels like he’s straight out ofCabaret‘s Kit Kat Klub. Luke Street delivers tremendous rock vocals as Simon Zealotes, whilst Joshua Hawkins gives beautiful vocals and guitar accompaniment as Peter in Could We Start Again Please?. Eloise Davies also deserves a mention – she demonstrates her excellent dance and movement skills as the Mob Leader, capably and confidently leading many large ensemble numbers.

Jesus Christ Superstaris an enjoyable evening out, despite the production feeling overly stylised, with a cast who do justice to this iconic score.

Runs until 29th June 2024.

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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