10-14 March 2015
Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Blackpool Opera House is located within Blackpool’s famous Winter Gardens. One of the UK’s biggest theatres, it has seen a cast of thousands tread its boards since it first opened in 1939. It seats almost 3,000 and from what we could see most of these seats were full for the opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar. Being such an old building means there are lots of lovely original features and it is full of character. Whilst many modern theatres have quite small stages, this one is large and wasn’t cramped by the impressive set and large cast. We were sat in the stalls and had an excellent view of the stage.
There is plenty of parking nearby either on ground level or multi story car parks. We paid £4.50 to park on a nearby car park that was only a few minutes walk away from the theatre.
The theatre has a choice of bars, we nipped out to the Theatre Bar during the interval which was a very stylish venue. There are also restaurants and a café but being situated in the centre of Blackpool means there is plenty of choice when it comes to pre-show drinks or meals.
This well-known rock opera was written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber and first performed over thirty years ago in 1972. It loosely follows the Gospels’ account of the last few days of Jesus’ life and portrays his relationship with his disciples, his betrayal by Judas and finally his death by crucifixion.
Whilst the show uses a large cast to tell the story, four characters are central to the plot, Tim Rogers as Judas, Glen Carter as Jesus, Rhydian Roberts as Pontius Pilate and Jodie Steele as Mary. Glen Carter is not new to this role having played Jesus in a number of previous productions and his experience shows in this challenging role. His voice was powerful and clear despite having some tricky songs with very high notes to sing. Tim Rogers as Judas improved as the night went on with his best performance coming at the end of the second act with a powerful and emotional “Superstar.” In a musical it is important that the lyrics are clear and during the early part of the show I did struggle to make out all his words. Jodie (standing in for an indisposed Rachel Adedji) was superb and has a beautiful voice. No one could fail to be moved by her emotions as she sang “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” in the first half of the show. X-Factor star Rhydian Roberts showcased his amazing voice in the relatively minor role of Pontius Pilate as did Cavin Cornwall as Caiaphis with his powerful bass-baritone voice.
The overall performance was outstanding and I have to say it brought me out in goose bumps a few times. It was obvious that the show’s producers had chosen a very talented and experienced cast.
The large set was altered to portray a number of scenes from Jesus arriving in the streets of Jerusalem to the Garden of Gethsemane and Herod’s Palace. Spectacular lighting effects added to the emotion of the scenes, especially towards the end of the show with Judas’s suicide and the crucifixion of Christ. I also thought the band were excellent, pumping out the rock soundtrack but never drowning out the singers.
I have never seen Jesus Christ Superstar before and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. With emotionally-driven performances from the entire cast it really is a show that you should see if you get the chance.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £34.50 (booking fees may apply).
Jesus Christ Superstar is at the Blackpool Opera House until 14 March 2015- For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 856 1111.
Opera House Theatre, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL | 0844 856 1111