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/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Cilla - The Musical at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I have to start with a confession dear reader, what I know about Cilla Black can pretty much be written on the back of the Derngate ticket that I clutched on entering the theatre (and that allows for the advert on the back). I have heard a couple of her tunes of course (more than once) and confess, once again, that I generally didn't like what I heard. I think it's clear that with her natural raw form and voice, "a diamond in the rough" as Brian Epstein, her eventual manager describes her, she a performer that you either love or generally, not hate as such, but perhaps just dislike. I fall in the latter. Curiously as I a forty-year-old, I also don't even fall into the Cilla of hit television either, being a BBC viewing family, I never saw her on TV much when I was growing up.

So, coming almost totally fresh to the world of Cilla, it was a little comforting that for the first act, much of the world of Cilla - The Musical revolves not just around star building Cil…

Review of Woman In Mind by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

I like Alan Ayckbourn, I may only have seen a few of his vast array of plays previously, but all have been a delight, often crazy yes, but constantly funny, and especially in the second act spiralling often into just on the very edge of believable nonsense. With Woman In Mind, acknowledged by many as one of his finest works, my own personal jury is very much out on whether I liked it or not.
What was very good, mostly, however, were the performances, most especially the two that we are introduced to at the very beginning. The prostrate Susan (Nicola Osborne), with sinisterly lurking rake alongside her, and the bag struggling doctor, Bill (John Myhill).
Nicola Osborne has the unenviable task in this play of never leaving the stage, a feat in itself. Add to this the constant weaving of the character's world (more on this later), and you have a role featuring some significant challenge, one that Osborne ably surmounts. I once described Osborne as a "safe pair of hands" in …

Press launch of Sting's The Last Ship at Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton

On Friday 16th February 2018, I attended the official press launch of The Last Ship. In attendance were the writer of the show, Sting, and cast members for the 2018 UK tour Richard Fleeshman, Charlie Hardwick and Joe McGann, with musical support from Rob Mathes.

During the event, opened entertainingly by producer Karl Sydow, Sting and the cast members performed seven of the songs from the show: The Last Ship (Sting), Dead Man's Boots (Sting and Fleeshman), Sail Away (Hardwick), The Night the Pugilist Learned to Dance (Fleeshman), What Say You Meg? (Fleeshman) and What Have You Got? (Sting and cast).

Each of these songs showed us a great background to the evocative tale that The Last Ship tells, of a community under attack as its crucial shipbuilding industry begins to fail. The performers and Sting himself delivered the songs with huge passion, despite, as Sting himself commented, the earnestness of the hour, with the event beginning at 10 am.

The Last Ship was initially inspired …