Jesus Christ Superstar

17 Nov

When the UK arena spectacular version of Jesus Christ Superstar came down to Australia earlier this year, I was devastated as I was unable to go.  For a mad, crazy, Jesus Christ Superstar fan, this was a tragedy of epic proportions.

To put it in perspective, I saw the 1994 Australian production something like six times, and have lost count of the number of different cast recording CDs that I own.

Then last weekend, to my delight, I found the UK Arena spectacular on dvd at a local supermarket.  Didn’t get a chance to watch that weekend, but this Saturday past I settled down to watch and enjoy.  I was totally blown away by the production.

Until I watched the dvd, I would have said that Darryl Lovegrove, the star of the 1993 New Zealand, and 1994 Australian productions, was the best Jesus I had seen.  Ben Forster blew him out of the water.  His performance of “Gesthemene” is the most powerful and poignant I have heard.

Tim Minchin as Judas was also a rare treat.  Too often Judas and Jesus don’t sync well together and the chemistry that should be there just isn’t.  The chemistry between Forster and Minchin was truly delicious.  It showed most clearly during the song “The Last Supper”.  Brilliant performances from both men.

Mel C was great as Mary Magdalene as well.  The inner turmoil of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was exquisite, as was the duet with Peter of “Can We Start Again, Please?”  One of my favourite songs from the opera, but one so often mishandled by inadequate casting of the minor role of Peter.

Alex Hanson’s Pontius Pilate was delicious.  Sharp, cynical, and helplessly caught in the web of fate, Alex Hanson gave this character so much life.  Would have to say he’s my second favourite Pilate.  George Henare still reigns supreme in my mind, with his swirling purple coat and velveteen voice.

I also need to make comment of Pete Gallagher as Caiaphas.  As a smartly suited embodiment of evil he was delectable.  “Jesus Must Die” is another of my favourite songs and he did it justice magnificently.

I really liked the staging of the show.  Rome as a massive multi-national corporation headed by Caesar.  Caiaphas as the head of the Israel branch.  Pilate as a corporate lawyer.  With Jesus and the Twelve as a protest movement.  It worked fantastically well.  The use of CCTV like footage, pseudo news footage, and multimedia messages on a large screen at the back, was simply inspired.

The did do one thing that is still puzzling me.  How the hell did Judas manage to hang himself onstage??? 

I can see me watching this dvd many, many times.  The production is damn near perfect.


3 Responses to “Jesus Christ Superstar”

  1. sophiebowns December 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Wasn’t it superb?
    I saw the show this year in Manchester and it was phenomenal ! Ben Forster in particular absolutely blew me away and he & Tim Minchin were so perfect together. I am so glad that I own the DVD! 🙂


    • margysmusings December 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      It was brilliant. I agree, Ben Forster and Tim Minchin were the perfect combination. 😀


      • sophiebowns December 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

        Yes absolutely! Wonderful talent! 🙂


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