Skip to main content

Review of Jesus Christ Superstar at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Forgive me father for I am about to sin.

That momentous rock opera called Jesus Christ Superstar and written by Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice is perhaps not all its cracked up to be. Well, in my ever so humble opinion anyway. The money it has made and success it has had, obviously dictates otherwise, so I bow to this.

It has its merits, the title song "Jesus Christ Superstar" is a magnificent piece and that coupled with the powerful ending makes the final fifteen minutes wonderful. Much of the rest is what I would go as far as saying is just noise, and this is not because I hate rock music. Much of the time the music overpowers any singing going on and when this is not happening it just feels like a lot of howling. A prime example of the ear is in the beholder perhaps, but this music is not for me. Having said all these disparaging comments, I have to say "Hosanna" is a superb song and my favourite of the show. The one track I took with me from the Derngate as my earworm

The other problem I have is honestly knowing whether this all lies in the music or the performers of the show. That is therefore where I fall down and fail as a reviewer of this, with no comparisons (other than a trip to YouTube soon no doubt). The only thing I would maybe blame on the main cast, is that the ensemble pieces are much better performed than the solo ones. Cavin Cornwall is the exception to this rule however, as Caiaphas he has the deepest voice that you could possibly imagine. I feared for a while I would fall into it. He is quite superb.

Also superb are the production levels. This is one truly visual feast on the eye, even if your dear reviewer didn't always like the sound of it. One of the biggest touring sets I have so far seen from designer Paul Farnsworth and excellent choreography from Carole Todd. At all times the show is lovely to look at.

However this is a musical and for my ear it fails in that, be it the performers (more likely), or the show itself (less likely, it's made a couple of quid I believe). If you are a fan and fully know what to expect, I suspect that you will not leave disappointed. The matinee crowd the day I saw it felt equally confused as many of the "pauses for applause" were left hanging in total silence, and yet at the end many stood for applause. However like I say, those last fifteen minutes are superb, so perhaps they were on a high from that.

«««


Performance reviewed: Wednesday 18th March, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Jesus Christ Superstar is on at the Royal & Derngate until Saturday 21st March, 2015, details here: 
http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Derngate/jcsuperstar/?view=Standard

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Worst Witch at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch first appeared in print in 1974, bringing its tale of an academy for witches to the first of a few generations. It was a long time before a certain boy wizard made his first appearance in a school of his own, and doesn't Emma Reeves, adaptor for the stage, know it. There are many a jibe at the HP universe in this stage version, that even I, someone who has never read or watched any of them (yes, really), could pick up.

Mildred Hubble arrives by mistake at the wrong university, a "normal" or "pleb" far removed from the rest of the students at Miss Cackle's Academy. Here she meets friends and enemies, and a certain evil twin bent on world domination.

Reeves' adaptation starts off slightly shakily as we are presented with what at first threatens to be a cheap rip-off of the mega stage hit The Play That Goes Wrong as we are introduced to the premise that this is a play put on by the students, complete with copycat stage ma…

Review of The Pillowman at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Pillowman sounds such a friendly title, and to be fair, his story is one of the lighter aspects of Martin McDonagh's script. It still involves dead children though, if you want to get a clear vision of how dark this play is.

Set in a police state of the future, Katurian (Toby Pugh) is taken in for the content of his often violent stories and a similarity to a spate of recent child killings. Here in detention cell 13, his police captors, Tupolski (Adrian Wyman) and Ariel (Steve While) play good cop, bad cop while holding over the threat of violence against Katurian's mentally disabled brother Michal (Patrick Morgan), being held in another cell.

The Pillowman is clearly a very warped story, with the blackest of black comedy, and often also very offensive with it's racial stereotyping and disability. In fact, it is no surprise that a couple left in the interval, as I would happily admit that this play is far from everyone. I like a good black comedy though, and lifting an …

Review of Broadway Lights And West End Nights at Northampton College

I have followed the acting course at the University of Northampton for the last five years now, but this Saturday I experienced the Level 3 Musical Theatre group at Northampton College for the first time, as they presented a performance by their first and second-year students. The evidence from this first encounter suggests that there is some very good talent on its way through this course.

The evening presented a nicely varied selection of performances from six shows, Avenue Q, Rent, The Lion King, Cats, Mary Poppins and Sweet Charity, both providing some lovely singing routines and a few of pure dance, allowing the students to show many of their, very obvious, skills.

From the collection of 21 routines presented, there were a few standout moments, the best of which for myself was Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer performed by Tom Kalek and Lily Cushway. This was a routine of such polish that I would happily have watched on any stage, never mind a student performance. Kaley and Cushway…