You know when you have been to see an amazing performance when you cannot stop blasting out songs wherever you go; and after being witness to a truly wonderful showing of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican Theatre, you can bet your bottom dollar that we have sung every single lyric!
Now in its third wondrous year at the Barbican, Jesus Christ Superstar is a show that is exhilarating, thrilling and with a unique freshness about it. Using Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s foundations, heart and soul, Timothy Sheader has worked tremendously to strip it all back, and to unleash a performance that is compelling and allows the show to truly shine.
Jesus and Judas’ huge, from the stomach, belters are just as loud and as rocky as ever before and mixed with some stunning lighter numbers from Mary Magdalene it makes for a performance that is as artful on the ears as it is on the soul.
Not only is the music and the vocals a joy to behold but as too is the choreography. Drew McOnie has taken Jesus Christ Superstar one step further and elevated it above any previous version – the energy and excitement of the on-stage movement are pieced together in a seamless fashion that just seems to ooze from character to character which then, in turn, oozes out into the audience. Exciting, sad, free and sizzling; all the right kinds of movements you would want to see from a performance as poignant as this.
Lee Curran‘s lighting also needs to be mentioned; we have to remember that the story of Jesus is one that is very thoughtful and full of emotion-provoking scenes, and the lighting put on by Curran truly helps to highlight some of the great narrative and scenes and helps to pull the audience into the story.
Jesus, played by Robert Tripolino, battles the two sides to his personality; the strong and fearless leader when out preaching, and that of someone who is quite isolated and exhausted when in private whilst having to deal with the questions surrounding his destiny. His vocals are true enough to send shivers down the hardest of spines. The same can be said for Judas, played by Ricardo Afonso. Afonso plays the role with the right levels of intensity, electricity, and raw emotion too. A true performance that works well to blend the mix of emotions that this story can introduce.
In fact, the vocals throughout the whole performance blew us away. Matt Cardle, Nathan Amzi and Cavin Cornwall all possess voices that were created to amaze and that they did!
Overall, this performance of Jesus Christ Superstar is one that needs to be seen. It possesses all of the qualities of a top show with vocals, lighting, set design, and choreography that will pull you on stage and let you live the story first hand whilst at the same time being whisked away in a journey full of emotion.