Jesus Christ Superstar
Solihull Theatre Company
The Core Theatre
14th – 18th May 2019
This show is Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera, based around the last weeks of Jesus Christ’s life. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but the almost capacity audience at the Core Theatre certainly appreciated the performance.
Solihull Theatre Company have stripped back the set using minimal staging allowing you to focus on the stunning performances with no distractions. This also means the action flows seamlessly into the next song and scene creating a slick pace. Complimenting the modern stage was the contemporary costuming. Jeans, leather jackets and t-shirts are the order of the day with not a loin cloth in sight.
The ensemble work hard throughout the show delivering precise harmonies, energetic dance routines (choreographed by Amy Price) and heartfelt acting. There are also some fast costume changes as the ensemble are a large part of the show featuring in numerous songs. The effort pays off as they match the performance level of the principles with ease.
The musical numbers range from upbeat and celebratory, sinister and devious to unsettling, played by an experienced orchestra led by Musical Director Kevin Gill.
All the principals have honed their characters through the rehearsals to give excellent performances. Chloe Houghton as Mary Magdalen gives a rendition of “I don’t know how to love him” which has a palpable air of devotion and confusion. Judas (Dan Gough) is an opinionated man who battles with his actions. His realisation, remorse and pain are clear to see, leading to his artfully depicted demise. David Steels Jesus draws your attention whenever he graces the stage, and not just because of his white costume amid a sea of black. His torment in the iconic “Gethesmane” perfectly displayed. He also hit the impressive high note with ease. The three plotting priests (Caiphas – Keith Western, Annas – Michael Bentley, Priest – Mike Walker) are imposing and sinister as they plot the downfall of their enemy, the bass of Keith Western especially worthy of note. Michael John Greene brings an edge to Pontius Pilate that chills you.
With a number of modern twists (including King Herod as a ringleader clown, played by Katherine Allen, accompanied by dancing girls) this production directed by Andrew Johnson, brings something new and fresh to the 1970’s musical to great effect.
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