Review: Jesus Christ Superstar at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
The controversial and very unique rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar graces the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre stage this week, and although recent versions have been branded somewhat outdated, the Regents Park Open Air Theatre’s adaptation currently on tour has certainly upped its game.
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this remarkable show, but one thing is for sure, this is the best. The very best.
When Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice created the piece over 50 years ago, I doubt they had any idea how long it would have a disturbing effect on future audiences, but religious or an atheist, Jesus Christ Superstar will move you, shock you and leave you with a sense of trauma; a reminder that theatre is not just there to entertain, but to educate and remind too.
Lloyd-Webber’s score is undeniably pure rock, but with a commercial slant, while Rice’s lyrics are intelligent, and though-provoking and it is hard to imagine how young this team were at the time of writing. It is arguably their best work.
Ian McIntosh, who proudly told me he hails from Coventry, gave an inspired performance as Jesus, with not only the vocal performance of the evening, but also a powerful and impressive dramatic portrayal of the doomed messiah. His stripped back, poignant rendition of Gethsemane will haunt me forever.
Shem Omari James, as Judas, had a raw, untamed quality to his voice which perfectly suited his role and his interpretation of the moment he agrees to betray Jesus, Damned for all Time, was stunning.