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Jesus Christ Superstar

Published by: Kirstie Niland on 11th Mar 2015 | View all blogs by Kirstie Niland

Winter Gardens Blackpool

Blackpool has definitely got the wow factor this season, and Jesus Christ Superstar delivers a cast gifted with such powerful vocals they can surely be heard in heaven.

Directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright, the UK touring production stars the West End’s Jesus, Glenn Carter, alongside Welsh Baritone and X-Factor finalist Rhydian Roberts as Pontius Pilate; musical theatre star Tim Rogers as Judas Iscariot; and Rachel Adedji as Mary Magdalene. However on press night, understudy Jodie Steele put in a strong performance as Mary, with an especially rousing performance of I Don’t Know How to Love Him.

Ever since Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera was first performed in 1971 the musical score has become familiar to most. Even those who haven’t seen it could probably sing along to Superstar. Forty-four years later the musical story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus is still spellbinding.

The Winter Gardens is the ideal venue for the impressive set - a combination of opulence and austerity providing a dramatic backdrop for the events that unfold through the eyes of Judas. The sound and lights are literally a sight to behold, transforming the stage into a horrific yet heavenly spectacle as Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Carole Todd’s choreography sees the cast work together expertly, with scene changes so fluid each merges into the next seamlessly, with movements beautifully reflective of the tragedy and comedy. Costume and make-up have staged a spectacular coup with King Herod. The fabulous Tom Gilling sports heart-shaped nipple tassels, glitter and the biblical version of a medallion.

Scenes led by actor and voice-over artist Cavin Cornwall as the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas will leave you wide-eyed at his almighty tones. (Google Hairy Ford Cortina Nescafé ad for a taster).

Rhydian Roberts is nicely menacing as Pontius Pilot, who authorises Jesus’s crucifixion. For me, his performance was one of the most commanding.

The singing is pitch perfect throughout, and Glenn Carter's vocal range is verging on miraculous. His anguish is expressed through the highest notes, and his exchanges with the equally gifted Tim Rogers (Judas) feature some superb Heavy Metal style vocal gymnastics.

The finale is no less shocking for being expected but I won’t spoil it by giving away why (apart from the obvious). Clearly it wasn’t just me left overwhelmed, as one exhausted audience member exclaimed on the way out: “I couldn’t be crucified every night!”

Photographs by Pamela Raith Photography

Jesus Christ Superstar is on at the Winter Gardens Blackpool until Saturday 14th March. Bookings on Ticketmaster.


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks for this colourful review, Kirstie. Sounds like a fabulous production.
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