This has been a huge highlight of the year so far! The Regents Park Open Air Theatre revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. This is pure theatrical magic:
It’s going to be hard to describe how brilliant this show is but we’ll give it a try. It is a very different production by going back to the concept album and seeing it though that lense. So there is loads of clever symbolism with hands held microphones and wires.
The choreographer Drew McOnie has created his own language to tell the story through. It feels very mechanical and animalistic. It is executed with such passion and energy by the ensemble who work so hard throughout. If you are not familiar with the story you might struggle following it because it is sung through and especially with this production, you might not know who’s who until further on. But don’t let this put you off! It is a great piece of entertainment and drama. It doesn’t compare with most shows on the West End at the moment, in that it is better than most!
The story of Jesus last seven days is well known , but Lloyd Webber and Rice have put the story to music in such a powerful and humorous way that it still feels new today nearly 50 years after its debut in 1971. As you can see through the photos it is a true feast for the eyes and ears.
Jesus is played by Robert Tripolino with so much passion and realism, both in terms of acting and singing, I saw Robert earlier this year at the delightful Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester (if you have never been make sure to check it out) He was playing Sal in the very much underrated Musical “Rags”, he had a much smaller but amusing part in Rags but to see him playing Jesus shows the true breadth of his musical and acting talent, his performance is simply Spine Chilling.Especially in “Gethsemane” where he throws himself at this incredibly difficult and emotional song. Worth the ticket price alone to experience this.
Without exception all the cast put in an enormous amounts of energy, but I must pick out three stand out performances: Ricardo Afonso ,who plays Judas, gives so much emotion to the role and his voice is infectious. Sallay Garnett’s performance of “ I Don’t know how to love Him” left the hairs on your hand standing up, it was simply magical. We cannot forget Samuel Buttery’s portrayal of Herod (I wont spoil his entrance but it had the whole audience in stitches) a spectacle you will never forget.
The set (By Tom Scutt) looks like its been erected in a disused factory with steel beams to create levels for the band. Hidden crosses at the top of the set tower over the stage. A cross which looks like its fallen down on the stage is used very well. The lighting (By Lee Curran) was the perfect blend of concert and theatre together. Timothy Sheader has directed this masterpiece and it is some of the best direction I have ever seen. He creates a unique world for this which is full of glitter and edge. There was some moments where I thought to myself this is just pure genius on every level!
The finale of the crucifixion and the atmosphere created in the theatre leaves you with a question about the historical story behind the show and what would our lives be like if this man called Jesus had never existed. This show leaves you absolutely speechless and I went to see it twice within a few days!
You have until the 24th of August to see this musical masterpiece in all its theatrical glory.
Thanks for Reading! Have you seen Jesus Christ Superstar. Feel free to comment below or message me on instagram @unofficialtheatre
Eugene and Martin