WhatsOnStage Logo

Jesus Christ Superstar (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
WhatsOnStage logo
Following the ratings failure of the search for a Superstar to fill Jesus size sandals in an arena tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's mega musical, expectations for the live stadium show were understandably quite low.

But from the opening scene onwards, you are literally swept away by the sheer majesty and immense talent on stage in a different, relevant and completely contemporary version of the life of Christ - carried by the instantly recognisable, pulsating rock songs.

Tim Minchin's brings emotional weight to Judas and you cannot take your eyes off him. He gives a commanding and intense performance - scurrying across the stage like a rat. His scenes with Superstar winner Ben Forster are particularly effective and Forster himself proves he can handle the role, hitting the heights vocally and giving a totally convincing performance.

Melanie C's Mary Magdelene may be saddled with an outfit and hairdo that recalls Boy George meets Haysi Fantayzee, but she is a credible actress proving that her Mrs Johnstone was not a flash in the pan. Alexander Hanson steals every scene he is in as Pontius Pilate - bringing gravitas to the piece. Chris Moyles does what he's paid to do and does it well, although the role of King Herod (here - a game show host) is so' blink and you'll miss it', it does feel a bit emperor's new clothes.

Laurence Connor's direction keeps things rattling along at a great pace and he also gives the ensemble plenty to do and extends the action into the full length of the arena setting. His nods and winks to you tube, Guantanamo Bay, celebrity, twitter and the UK riots seem timely as opposed to tacked on.

The set design would benefit from more pyrotechnics, considering the ticket prices. But overall, this re-energised JCS deserves to return to the regions for sheer star power and inventive direction alone.


Tagged in this Story