Jesus Christ Superstar was first staged back in 1971, but after seeing CATS (Chaddesley Amateur Theatre Society) perform the show tonight there is no doubt that this show continues to be supremely popular. Within the wonderfully quaint setting of St Cassian's Church, this theatre group brought the iconic rock opera superbly to life.
Leading the cast was Cy Wooldridge as Jesus. Ably depicting this iconic role, he not only looked the part, but sounded the part too. His voice was in good form, with a particularly notable rendition of Gethsemane. Kim Lavender reprised her role as Mary Magdalene, having previously played the part with another local group. She dazzled, and although her mic seemed quiet during I Don’t Know How To Love Him, you could still hear every word.
Some fantastic cameos came from the utterly brilliant Mark Horne as Herod and Tom Robinson as Simon. Robinson’s voice was incredible in Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem – there were gasps from audience members by the end of his song. There was also strong support from Hugh Richards (Peter), Steve Coussens (Pilate), Barry Carpenter (Caiaphas) and Matthew Tunnicliffe (Annas).
Last and by no means least, it was George Stuart who really shone in this show. His unfaltering vocals, engrossing acting and stage presence were a joy to watch and combined with the rest of this talented group the show was a mighty achievement.
With elegant dancing, it was amazing that the chorus, dancers and apostles could all fit onto the stage; a big well done to Anna Forster for her carefully planned and excellent choreography. Kudos, also, to Jonathan Hill (MD) who masterfully directed the rousing orchestra to the fantastic Superstar climax.
Under the admirable direction of Matthew Tunnicliffe, it is clear that Jesus Christ Superstar truly is an ensemble piece and every single member of the cast and crew played their part in making this show a success. From the chorus, to the choir and the apostles and dancers, CATS delivered an atmospheric production, which the sell-out audiences for the rest of the run will be enthralled by.
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