Jesus Christ Superstar

Date 14th June 2019
Society Maghull Musical Theatre Company
Venue Little Theatre Southport
Type of Production Musical
Director Betty Hall
Musical Director Charles Moss
Choreographer Betty Hall


Author: Patricia Connor

 Jesus Christ Superstar was Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist  Tim Rice, third musical together written in 1970. The musical was first presented as a rock opera concept album before its Broadway debut in 1971 and is arguably said to have paved the way for the combination of rock ‘n roll with musical theatre.  However the radical songs within its score have divided some religious groups over the years, as the story is based on  the last week of Jesus's life during what is known today as Holy Week and is taken very loosely from the accounts in the Bible’s New Testament gospels.We begin with Jesus and his disciples getting ready to go into Jerusalem for what is known as Palm Sunday and ends with the crucifixion at Golgotha. It centres on the  political ideology, relationship and differences  between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. Judas, is not happy and is frustrated with what Jesus is teachings his followers, Judas feels that Jesus should be grabbing the opportunity to use his popularity to lead a revolt against the Romans. 
 This emotional experience was directed  by Betty Hall and the cast included some very talented singers and performers who all worked together as a team to bring this show to life on the stage. The talented Matt Casson was Jesus who demonstrated the agony and torment Jesus was going through while waiting to face his ultimate sacrifice, especially in his performance of the song Gethsemane. Leslie Longley showed us his versatility in the role of Judas Iscariot, his voice suited the demanding role of this frustrated, tormented and bewildered character, Matt and Lesley also complemented each other nicely which was very important for the success of this show. Kay Davies sang  beautifully with lots of feeling and gentleness in the role of Mary Magdalene  and the High Priest Caiaphas-  Les Gomersall and the Priest Annas-  Ed Casson  were suitably threatening and duplicitous while plotting  to bring about Jesus’s death.Then there was the rich singing voice of Liam Rabbette as Pontius Pilate, who’s  diction and interpretation of the role was just right.  Eric Fletcher once again showed us his comedic credentials by  treating us to a very enjoyable comedic characterisation of King Herod and the apostles Simone Zealotes played by Matt Christiansen and Peter  played by Scott Copeland both sung well and were secure in their roles.As is usual with Lloyd Webber musicals this show is completely sung through, so it is imperative that all the performers are able to tell the story through their singing, meaning diction should be clear and words must be heard easily which I am happy to say the cast did very ably. The chorus supported the principle cast with enthusiasm and appeared to enjoy themselves very much getting into the spirit of the show. Just a constructive point on occasions during chorus numbers the microphones picked up single voices meaning they were heard above others voices. Choreography also by Betty Hall was, right for this type of production and was performed well with energy by all the cast. There are three types of musical accompaniment available for this show which include a  35 piece  or an 11 piece orchestra or as in this case  a five piece rock combo led by Musical Director Charles Moss  who were excellent and supported the performers well, which is very important as in this show the vocal talents of the cast are relied on very much. This was the first time I have seen this show with a rock combo and I think personally I may prefer the larger sound but this is just me as I like big orchestral sounds.  Costumes were very well thought out, suited the roles and the setting of the show. Set design was minimalistic  various size blocks were used to change scenes and locations, the crucifixion looked realistic and Judas’s suicided scene was very well done and effective, you could hear an intake of breath coming from the audience. Well done to all the backstage and technical crew for all their hard work and efficiency.
Congratulations, to everyone involved in bringing this thought provoking enjoyable production to the stage for us all to enjoy,thank you for a lovely evening and thank you for inviting us.