Saturday, 20 October 2012
Jesus Christ Superstar At Nottingham Capital FM Arena REVIEW
Staged on a flight of steps with the orchestra on either side encased in scaffolding that the disciples hurl themselves and come somersaulting off onto stage in a rebel-rousing frantic and frenetic beginning before soothing down with the Jesus, Mary and Judas trio singing the gorgeously sublime Everything's Alright, it's after the interval that the show really settles into itself and becomes the almighty and wondrous arena-staged spectacular that Andrew Lloyd Webber originally intended.
Critics have questioned whether the musical's highly-emotive and sometimes harrowing scenes can really be successfully captured in venues this size, but the intimacy of the big screen close-ups together with the cast frequently roaming the aisles of the audience both contrasts and works together with the all out belting rockstar performances of the leads, creating a truly exceptional and new theatrical experience. And we weren't kidding about those belting rockstar perfomances- Tim Minchin's edgy, dodgy and disturbed Judas develops into an epic and awesome character of desperation and he does ROCK, wowing the crowd with his solos and winning our empathy with the wretched and tragic inevitability of his predicted betrayal whilst Mel C equally spellbinds big time with her moving, powerful, and touching Mary Magdalene. And it's quite a sight to behold ten thousand people completely stunned and transfixed during the heart-wrenching, show-stopping and tour de force Garden of Gethsemane solo where Jesus weeps and rages against God about his impending death, with Ben Forster alone but filling the stage and showing off a glorious vocal range reaching celestial notes so high, they would make the Bee Gees wince.
Meanwhile, a quite incredibly slimmed-down Chris Moyles pulls off a fun five minute crowd pleaser as a red-spangled suited gameshow host Herod surrounded by tap dancing girls with a live Lord or Fraud? phone in vote to determine Jesus's fate, even throwing in a cute Nottingham joke at the end and almost parodying the actual search for this show's lead on ITV's Superstar.
And so what initially seemed a bit of an oddball-collection of casting came together and all turned out to be just a little bit genius actually, so to all those who might have doubted him, you better BELIEVE in his omnipotent power, because fashionably unfashionable that is has become nowadays to admit to being in any way religious, still they flock in their tens of thousands to come and see this show- that's all about Jesus. The Lord Webber sure still knows how to perform those old mysterious wonders and ways.
Jesus Christ Superstar is at Nottingham Capital FM Arena until Oct 20. Full details and ticket prices can be found on their website here