13-18 July 2015
Reviewed by Louise Platt
There are very few shows that, in the last 40 years, can truly claim to have changed the face of musical theatre forever. Jesus Christ Superstar is one that did and last night it was came to Milton Keynes Theatre for the first of a six-day run of performances.
This powerful “rock opera” has been around since 1971 when it was first performed in the West End. It tells the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus through the eyes of Judas Iscariot who is the one to betray him and lead him to those who eventually take his life by crucifying him on the cross.
It is a very long time since I saw the film production or listened to the score of this popular musical but it all came flooding back and the toes started tapping from the second Judas (played last night by a very talented understudy) took to the stage in the opening scene.
The entire story is presented as a musical and with a score written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber we are treated to hit after hit, some rousing tracks such as Hosanna and Superstar and others poignant, veering on devastating (I Don’t Know How to Love Him).
When you are so engrossed in a show that you don’t ever want it to end you know it’s been a good (great) one and this was true for me last night watching this performance. I know the story, we all do, but I was still touched by it – the portrayal of this man who came to humanity with such an important message – and shocked at the end by the brutality of what the Romans did to him. The Crucifixion scene is extremely powerful and the producer has used lighting and sound to great effect, notwithstanding Glenn Carter’s utterly convincing performance as a dying man. Possibly not for the feint hearted if I’m honest.
Special mention must go to Rachel Adedeji (of X Factor fame) who plays Mary Magdalene and has a beautiful voice and Tom Gilling’s rendition of Herod’s Song which is a real highlight. The hilarity of this scene in a brothel with a very camp Herod overshadows the horror of what is happening to Jesus although only temporarily.
Having said that the entire cast shines in this show with their amazing voices and some impressive vocal ranges! It is also clear that they are having a great time on stage which always makes for a top show.
I loved this show and would highly recommend it.
If you have never been to Milton Keynes Theatre, you will find a large, modern building located in the central part of Milton Keynes which is very accessible with lots of parking (free after 6pm and on Bank Holidays). There is a choice of kiosks (with drinks and snacks) and a lovely Piano Bar serving drinks before the show and during the interval. Staff are always extremely helpful and welcoming and there is an impressive range of plays and shows on offer at Milton Keynes to suit all tastes and ages.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £48.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Jesus Christ Superstar is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 18 July 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ