Jesus Christ Superstar Cast
Declan Bennett (Jesus), Tyrone Huntley (Judas), Anoushka Lucas (Mary), David Thaxton (Pilate), Peter Caulfield (Herod), Cavin Cornwall (Caiaphas), Sean Kingsley (Annas), Phil King (Peter), Joel Harper-Jackson (Simon Zealotes).
Jesus Christ Superstar Synopsis
I’m not sure this is really required, but in case you’re blissfully unaware: Jesus Christ Superstar is a musical depiction of Jesus’ life. It focuses on and applies artistic licence to, the interaction between Judas and Jesus from Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem right through to his Crucifixion.
Jesus Christ Superstar
This was my first time seeing Jesus Christ Superstar and I was surprised by how uncomfortable it made me feel. I found the physical depiction of such a sacred part of the bible quite unnerving, bordering on blasphemous like it was treading on God’s toes. It’s not that I’m against physical depictions of the bible, or that I’m particularly religious, or that I think this musical shouldn’t exist; it’s just that the rock opera vibe of the music adheres itself to an inherent level of anarchic disrespect.
That being said, I did enjoy the music and felt the rock style helped enhance the elevated status of many of the characters. I particularly enjoyed the soulful contrast of Mary’s songs (‘Everything’s Alright’, ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ and ‘Could We Start Again Please?’) and of course ‘King Herod’s Song’ was an absolute, much needed, comedic highlight. It’s sung through, just how I like my musicals and the score really does hit you to the core.
This Production of Jesus Christ Superstar
The Open Air Theatre’s summer musical has long been a highlight on my theatrical calendar; their productions always seem to depict the source material in the best possible light and this production was no exception.
The cast is vocally spectacular. From the large ensemble who harmonized their way through the score with ease while depicting the plot with all manner of modern choreography; to Anoushka Lucas (as Mary) whose voice silkily floated through the quieter moments of the plot; to Tyrone Huntley who delivers a truly outstanding performance as Judas. His voice achieved beautifully anguished heights with a seemingly great level of ease.
The Open Air Theatre adds a sense of heightened atmosphere that you don’t experience elsewhere. The night I visited was incredibly wet, there was so much rain that start of the show was delayed. Once underway a misty sort of dew in the air accentuated the masses of theatrical smoke and strobe lighting that were used to great effect.
Of course, the pinnacle of the show was the Crucifixion. Declan Bennett portrayed a blood stained (it was quite gory), yet resilient, Jesus till his last breath. This was one of those theatre moments where everything comes together (the staging, the glowing light, the smokey rainy air, the haunting vocals) to create a moment that will stick in your mind’s eye for a long time to come. It left me quite emotional.
My Verdict on Jesus Christ Superstar
Sadly, unless you already have tickets, you won’t be able to see this production as its limited engagement in Regent’s Park is completely sold out. However, if it does happen to pop-up in a different location I highly recommend it. This is an exceedingly high quality incarnation of a truly unique musical. I give Jesus Christ Superstar a rating of 4/5.