Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar is based on the last week of Jesus’ life as documented in St. John’s Gospel, from the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem to his execution. The focus of the musical is very much on an ideological and personal battle between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. Judas is treated much more sympathetically than he is in the bible and is depicted as a tragic figure who thought he was doing the right thing. In some ways he is the main focus rather than Jesus.In this production, Jesus is a rock star who has left a band, though that is not particularly relevant to the plot. Everyone wears modern dress, such as casual clothes, suits or police uniforms and the scenery is austere and modern.The performance opens with Judas singing. He is unhappy with Jesus, who is now being called God by his followers. He still loves Jesus but believes that he’s just a man and that calling him God or King will stir up trouble with the authorities. Also, Judas is unhappy that Jesus is consorting with Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, who is anointing Jesus with oil. Judas angrily says that the money used to buy the oil should have been used to help the poor. Eventually, this leads him to help the authorities when they want to arrest Jesus, which he thinks is best for all.Jesus is taken before Pontius Pilate, who wants nothing to do with trying him and sends him to King Herod but Herod decides that Jesus is just another false messiah and sends him back to Pilate. Judas is upset at the treatment Jesus is receiving, blames God for choosing him to betray Jesus and commits suicide. To appease the crowd, Jesus is whipped but this is not enough and he is eventually sentenced to be crucified. As Jesus is preparing for the crucifixion we see the ghost of Judas, now dressed in a very flashy suit, asking why Jesus chose to do what he did and was it all part of a plan. Jesus is crucified and the performance ends without a resurrection.The dancing is of high quality throughout and extremely well choreographed. The stage looks relatively small for such a large cast but they move and dance in a way that shows complete confidence. The singing is also very good. Rebecca Southard (Mary Magdalene) in particular has a lovely voice. Her performance of ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ is wonderful. Definitely worth seeing.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

The classic rock opera from the award-winning vocational college. 'The dancing was a joy to watch and the singing will surely propel these performers well beyond the fickle successes of 'Pop Idol' and 'Fame Academy'' (The Scotsman).