This BITA production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has a distinctly modern urban-industrial feel, the bedraggled followers of Jesus wearing blue jeans and tattered army green t-shirts rather than rags and sandals of the biblical era. Pop-up tents adorn the stage while an impressive metal structure stretches across and is omnipresent, a constant reminder of the contemporary feel of the piece.
During the opening number, Heaven On Their Minds you are immediately struck by the fantastic choreography by Attiye Partridge and Cleve September which throughout the play always adds to, rather than distracts from the fantastic lead performances.
The production is rightly at its strongest when both Jesus, played by Dec Foster and Judas, played by Max Eade are both on stage. The relationship between the two young actors was particularly excellent as they exchange intense looks from across the stage. A standout Gethsemane, which is often the litmus test of a good Jesus, was valiently sung by the 17-year-old and deservedly garnered one of the biggest applause of the night. Special mention should go to Eade's performance of Judas who truly made the role his own.
The production remains true to the source material, but adds and expands subtly to create a unique performance. A role that is famous for apadaption is Herod and his self titled King Herod's Song. Played by James Luckins a hilariously jarring appearance of a scooter riding Herod certainly added some levity and got a big laugh from the audience as a Herod – who bares a striking similarity to a current world-leader – danced with his adoring fans.
A wonderful production that should leave all those involved very proud and those in the audience excited to see what this talented company will do next.
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