REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar
Having wowed the Capital FM Arena a year ago, there was a fear Mel C, Tim Minchin and Chris Moyles might not live up to their own high standards as the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour arrived in Nottingham last night.
How wrong we were, as the celebrity trio – joined by the fantastic Ben Forster in the title role – thrilled a sell-out crowd with a high-intensity modern version of one of history’s oldest stories.
The classic tale was catapulted into the 21st century, as rioting eco-warriors and anti-capitalist protestors – with Twitter hash tags and tailed by intrusive news crews – followed Jesus through his final days.
The pace was non-stop from the start. Comedian Tim Minchin stole the show last year as the unlikely Judas. He was bang on form again a year on, but this time it was Mel C who excelled as Mary Magadalene.
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Minchin’s portrayal of the tortured Judas captivated the audience immediately, his powerful version of “Heaven On Their Minds” immediately justifying one casting director’s wildly-ambitious choice.
Judas was going through mental turmoil, trying to warn Jesus that his work was unravelling.
Mel C then came into her own, with “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” and Act 2 then belonged to Forster, who originally won the role via TV series auditions.
He has grown into the role, delivering a performance even more spellbinding than in the same venue 12 months ago. His rendition of Gethsemene was a contender for performance of the evening, a jaw-dropper that fully repaid Andrew Lloyd Webber’s faith in him.
Chris Moyles was delightfully camp in his cameo as Herod, establishing Jesus’s guilt in a phone vote on ‘Lord or Fraud?’
The set and camera work was sleek and hugely added to the atmosphere, no mean feat in a huge venue as far from the traditional intimate West End stage as you’ll ever see. Complemented by a talented backing cast, it all added up to a hugely successful return.
There’s no rest for the cast, who are now in Manchester for tonight’s show.