I saw this last night in Sheffield and thought it was breathtaking! Such a talented cast but the performance of the night has to be Tim Minchin. - Sarah
22 Oct 12
Amazing! One of the best shows and interpretation of JCS. The Idea was a success. The cast was amazing, my shout outs of congratulations go to Alex Hanson as Pilate(Who I will play very soon in an amateur production of JCS), Chris Moyles as Herod, Tim, Mel C and Ben as they as all produced a quality production. Although we had a 45 minute delay in Sheffield, this production made everything up for the lost time. Well Done Laurence. I have seen your productions and this is your best yet. It was just spectacular and I can't wait to buy this production on Blu-Ray. - Daniel Fotheringham
22 Oct 12
i have see this a few times and the original versions where a lot better, for the price an arena is not the place for musical, thought Judas was the best he was great, but after seeing this version i am not sure i would go back to see it again, moved away from story a bit just wish they had have kept it more like the original, not emotional enough for me but that may well be it being in an arena and not a theatre. - Berne
09 Oct 12
Saw the show last night in Birmingham and it was amazing. I can't understand the neagtaive reviews on here and thought all the cast were superb. I was in the 7th row and central, so close to the stage. I can see that it may not have translated as well to those further back. - Gemma S
05 Oct 12
I wa s totally moved by this production ....have never seen another but am so glad I saw this....even if somebody is not a believer it is still a powerful piece of theatre....I think sometimes in life you just "get it" or you don't .....one mans food is another's poison ....very moving ...colourful ...amusing ....poignant ...clever.....mr Lloyd and Rice are geniuses ..wrote this in their early twenties...loved it loved it ....can't wit for the DVD ....I am not easily entertained....as I get it older I have a short attention span ....but this musical had me from the beginning to end.... - Max
29 Sep 12
Loved it - agree with entire review. Minchin stole the show, Mel C superb too. Moyles okay and a good 'debut' for Ben. One of the few things I would see twice with same cast. - Sandie
26 Sep 12
Got used to the screens showing the live action. Not sure whether to actually keep my eye on the live theatre actors or on the live cinema screen showing them but by the end of the first half the screen had won me over. Why then, in the second half were there no close up shots of Jesus during the 40 lashes scene. We needed to see his face, the pain, the angst etc, we needed to feel something for him. Also, during his few lines on the cross, shouldn't he have been filmed in close up so that everyone could see and hear what he said? Why did they not use this fantastic screen resource did they think it might be too terrible for the audience in all its gory detail. So much was lost because of this. I noticed that the loincloth had also gone out the window to be replaced by an orange jumpsuit!!
And although they were trying to update the concept, I fear they strayed a little too far from 'Israel in 4bc' so that lots of the audience new to JCS had not a clue as to what was actually going on at all. All the politics of the story were lost, the priests changed to men in suits was a good idea but they were supposed to represent the religious authorities of the time and this was lost. Herod as a game show host was a good concept but he was still supposed to be Herod!
Ben was great! Tim was superb.
Yes, it would be better in a theatre and even better if Glenn Carter was in it! - quiller
26 Sep 12
I thoroughly enjoyes this production and found it very entertaining. Sporty spice was poor but tim and ben very good. Suprisingly Chris Moyles was excellent and realy worked the 23000 in attendance. 5/5 i would recommend for a family day out. - JACK
26 Sep 12
I was so very dissapointed. I attended the Saturday night at the O2. Ben failed to reach all but one of the money notes, making me hide behind my jacket. tim however was the person who carried the show. As I was in the nosebleeds a lot of the emotion was lost as the setting was to vast and I think it failed to translate. Maybe I could have felt more involved had it been in a theatre.
Chris however brought a light hearted presence to an exceptionaly heavy version.
Mel C's voice.didn't work singing these songs. It wasn't gental, it was far to aggressive when the tender moments between Mary and Jesus occured.
All in all I felt the musical was a tired and predictable revamp that failed to fill such a big venue. - Danielle Hayes
26 Sep 12
Extremely disappointing version of JCS. Forster's acting aggressive and stilted. Was not the charismatic figure of Steve Balsimo or Glen Carter and did not show the softer side to the role. His voice was just okay, and Gethsemane did not move me as it should have done. Although I liked the modern twist and setting it was lost in the arena and probably would have been better in the theatre. Tim Minchin good acting and singing even if a bit nasaly. Mel C okay, a bit raspy. So many more unknown theatre actresses would have done it far more justice and Chris Moyle's singing was a joke. Pilate and other secondary roles brilliant. Came away feeling flat and let down. Definitely not worth the price of the ticket. - Marie
25 Sep 12
Tim Minchin - fantastic!
Chris Moyles - surprisingly good
Ben Foster - OK
Mel C - OK
Alex Hanson - Great
Sound - OK (just)
Staging - boring ( a word I hate but describes it perfectly)
Orchestra/band - should have been bigger and better
Updated story - poor
I have seen many concerts at the O2 from Kasabian to Coldplay to Les Miserables, these all worked well, but Is not the venue for Superstar. Stick to the theatre! I am glad I saw it but would not recommend it to anyone. - Andy H
25 Sep 12
I saw the Sat matinee performance hence had to endure delays and technical hitches. I was in the most expensive seats at side of stage therefore view of show and screen was limited. Having seen the far superior 1996 West End production 7 times, where the audience were stunned into silence at the crucifixion every time, I consider this new version totally without emotion. Whilst Ben Forster's voice is passable he will never compare to that of Steve Balsamo. - Linda
25 Sep 12
Although Ben Forster can't act and lacked the charisma to be a convincing Jesus, I thoroughly enjoyed this innovative production. Tim Minchin alone was worth 4 stars and the excellent staging and effects made it a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable evening. Highly recommend - Janey
25 Sep 12
Very Disappointing. Venue too vast, music way to loud and clashy. Some of the production techniques .. eg. overlay of 'whats the buzz' text messages - extremely tacky and innane. Mary Magdalene... cringingly grim, about as much emotional depth as a punter after a poor night at the bingo club. Judas - singing - just about passable but acting awful - looking like an irritated pug dog at the most impassioned moments. Jesus (Ben) - well he tried but he was on the whole way out of his depth and serevely outclassed. Chris Moyles - embarassingly awful - if I'd had a cushion I would have hidden behind it. A few redeeming moments - Alex Hanson as Pilate - fantastic - commanded the stage - amazing voice. Also Caiaphas - a base singer - very good. Basically feel that Lloyd Webber has sold out to embrace the celebrity culture. There was a huge difference between the 'professional' singers and the Celebs. Webber has sacrificed the intimacy and poignancy of the original performance to create something that now feels debased. - Yvonne W
25 Sep 12
We went on the openning night. We really enjoyed the show. The cast were all great, Ben's performance of Gethsemane was outstanding. Yes, it was very different from the original, but an excellent night out. - Sue
25 Sep 12
I attended the show on the 22nd during the matinee performance. There were numerous technical difficulties as mentioned above but they did not detract from what was an amazing show. The modernisation of the show was clever and worked well without changing the 'story' at all. Tim Minchin was outstanding and the real star of the show but Ben held his own and gave a convincing performance. His acting was a little shy but his voice more than made up for that. Mel C was fantastic in the role and I disagree that she was too sexual - it is well rumored that she was a prostitute and her acting was appropriate. Moyles' voice is weak in comparison to the other lead roles but it mattered not a jot - he was excellent.
Yes, a few too many small and some large technical issues that I am sure will be ironed out in time but a fantastic, moving show nonetheless. - S Crighton
25 Sep 12
Are you serious? The tediously anachronistic approach and the cack-handed reliance on conceptual stuffing and hackneyed cliche, were clearly the product of a director with very, very limited imagination -- and no discernible skill. Bringing something crashing up to date with oh-so-daringly contemporary reference points (or "image vocabulary"), is not the same as actual vision. This aberration grasps around, fumbling with any sort of recognisable iconography (the more incendiary, or CONTROVERSIAL, the better), without ever giving any sort of substantive reason why -- meaning that the whole thing comes across as a creaky, and somehow, crassly brainless, piece of agitprop lite. The fact that it also punctures the dramatic logic is seemingly by the by.
The challenge with the show is to find the through line in the fractured narrative, and allow the undeniably masterful score to soar, whilst ensuring that the dramatic tension remains. Masking your inability to do this, by relying on all ill-thought through concept just makes you look like a hack. Lampooning reality TV, in the middle of a show that has exploited it -- and its dead-eyed commercialism -- to the max, is just graceless. - Todd
24 Sep 12
Laurence Connor can't direct and this is a cynical money-making ploy for a washed up old Lord. The piece is Tim Rice's first (his idea, his concept, his research) and not even he thinks it deserved the tacky TV treatment. Lloyd Webber holds his co-creators in utter contempt. What next, Jesus Never Dies: The Resurrection? - Owen
24 Sep 12
No thought given for any audience member further away than the tenth row - a small production dropped in to one of the biggest arenas out there. The directors 'vision' was cliched, and confusing, and did not allow for any character development, character interaction or detail. A ten piece orchestra? For an arena 'spectacular' this should have been at minimum a 40 piece orchestra. Terrible sound, the vision mixing and shooting was poor throughout - most close ups were obscured or even worse, close ups of actors feet. You can't blame the cast, they worked really hard on stage, very passionate - but the production and staging, was cheap, ill judged and rushed. Not a patch on the defining revival of 1996 at the Lyceum, this is a distant poor cousin to that triumph. Lloyd Webber - hang your head in shame. - - Darren
24 Sep 12
My wife and I were at the opening performance, where there were very few minor glitches, and certainly no delays. I agree the beginning was too loud, but the overall quality was simply superb. Ben did a magnificent job on "Gethsemane", deserving the standing ovation he got from a good number of patrons, and the other main characters were excellent. I have ordered the DVD. - Mervyn
24 Sep 12
The music stands the test of time and I've been humming the tunes non-stop for the last three days.
The updated 'Occupy London' setting with Twitter feeds and phone voting (ironic since that's how Ben Forster got the part) refreshed the piece entirely giving it new meaning for today's audience.
Mel C & Ben F are good, but Tim Minchin is phenomenal. His voice soars without a hint of vocal struggle and his Judas takes you on a huge emotional journey.
Yes - it was louder than your average theatrical production, but this is a rock opera doing an arena tour, so is probably to be expected.
PS Harald E. Hirthe: apparently the DVD is available to pre-order on Amazon!
24 Sep 12
Great Production. Melanie C and the rest of the cast were outstanding! I hope the go ahead with the rumored West End transfer - Samuel Zernig
24 Sep 12
Firstly, without any prior warning the show started around 40 minutes late - doors were supposed to open at 1pm but were opened around 1.30pm to allow around 23,000 people to find their seats and there were no apologies made for this before or after the show, we also noticed that one or two of the songs were cut short during the performance, whether this was to make up for the delayed start we'll never know.
The performance started with a very loud, but well put together newsreel incorporating the London riots as a booming start to the show, there was a lot of action on the stage and it really started the show with a bang!
Ben Forster (as Jesus) came out with very little presence, followed soon after by Tim Minchin who gained himself the respect of thousands of audience members with his spot on performance, making the audience really sit up and take notice of him. I wasn't sure on how I would be able to connect with Minchin in this role as I have enjoyed his comedic career, but I didn't give it a second thought when he was in the role of Judas, his performances were memorizing and just blew you away, he had the biggest applause every time he finished a song especially after his song for 'Judas' death'. He brought so much emotion and attention to detail for the character he played.
The first glimpse we had of Ben Forsters performance was unfortunately drowned by the very loud music from the live band on the stage set, whether his microphone wasn't loud enough or the sounds behind were too overpowering, it was just a real shame we couldn't hear any of the words from the first couple of songs from him. However after the interval he came out and delivered each line with plenty of power and emotion.
Melanie Chisholm was an unfortunately sexualized version of Mary Magdalene, although it is made clear by the lyrics of the first song involving Mary Magdalene 'STRANGE THING MYSTIFYING' that Mary has been involved in prostitution, however Mary is seen rubbing ointment into Jesus' shoulders, pulling his shirt back and rubbing his face and neck in an all too sexualized way, when this is unnecessary to the story. Forgiving the way she holds herself I actually enjoyed Melanie Chisholm's performance I wasn't sure when hearing that she would be our modern Mary Magdalene she sang the songs beautifully and made the role her own, especially with the powerful performance of 'I don't know how to love him'.
Again, unfortunately this whole performance seemed to have an all too needy sex appeal to it, the temple scene, which is usually played down to a subtle hint at the sex trade, money lenders and other sinners, was portrayed in a way that was far too much for a religious story where there were many children in the audience who got to see pole dancers and strippers very clearly and worse the cast members performing pretend sexual acts, in the closest corner of the stage to us we watched as a man and woman were kissing then lowered themselves to have imitated sex or "dry humping" whilst we could also see the same with 2 men together and another couple of 2 women. If this wasn't enough we also were given the 'pleasure' of watching a woman perform mock fellatio on a male cast member. All very clear and un needed for the adults and too much for the younger members of the audience.
The fact that the temple scene was so graphic I was surprised by the second half of the temple scene being played down, although this was the way I am used to it being portrayed it didn't have as much of an impact after the very played up to start of the Temple scene.
The lead up to the crucifixion was also done pretty poorly, the deliverance of 'Trial before Pilate' was very good, but the whipping was completely out of time, with Jesus feeling the whip and reacting a handful of times, although Ben Forster stayed in time with the whipping sounds the man holding the whip was completely off.
We suffered with a fair few (i think I counted 5 microphone issues), where the microphone wouldn't start until 5 or 6 seconds into the song, leaving a poor cast member singing his heart out and hearing nothing back for a good few seconds, though the cast continued as if nothing had happened and coped quite well. However, the real disappointments were the "technical difficulties" towards the end, when the rigging for Judas to come down on for 'Superstar' broke and we watched the whole cast prance off the stage while a announcement came through asking the audience to wait while they fixed the technical hitch, this was done within 5 minutes and the show went on. The most frustrating hitch for me was the fact that when the back beam of the cross came down to give the well known beam of light around Jesus when he passes which would have been a magnificent end to the performance. Instead we were left watching Ben Forster dangling on the beam of the cross, I couldn't hear the last lines that Ben Forster delivered over the complete outrage that they hadn't crucified Jesus in the end, only hung him by his arms to some light rigging. This could have been a powerful way of delivering the last scene by instead it was spoilt by a technical hitch.
I would go again if the technical difficulties were fixed before the performance began. It was a great effort by the chosen actors and actresses but it was totally let down by the technical difficulties and lack of subtlety in the appropriate scenes.
- Debbie Tatum
24 Sep 12
Enjoyed the Production & the staging, but Ben Foster was not up to the role, a good singer but not great, but what lets him down is the acting & lack of stage present, The wrong Person was choosen by the public, Chris Moyles had one number & was OK although when I heard they cast him I nearly asked for a refund, Mel C was good nothing special but why have they dressed her as Boy George... Tim Minchin stole the show & for him I give it 3 Stars... One other thing the acoustic's at the O2 was not good lots of echoing when there was a quite number... Enjoyed the production but was hoping to be blown away - Tim
24 Sep 12
dreadful. so disappointed. I don;t know what the director was thinking. - case drury
24 Sep 12
Could not disagree more... Poor staging, poor sound quality and dire direction.
Very Disapointing. - Mary
24 Sep 12
Dear Sirs, I hope I can buy this Version some Time on DVD. I could not be there cause I live in Germany . Best Wishes E. Hirthe - Harald E. Hirthe
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