Last night saw the opening night of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash West End hit Jesus Christ Superstar at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.
Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright reunite to direct Jesus Christ Superstar, a partnership that has seen them at the helm of iconic musicals including Evita (in the West End and on tour) and Blood Brothers; a show they have directed for almost 30 years, scooping up no less than four awards for best musical in London and seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway.
A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a timeless work set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.
The musical is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’s life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion.
The three main roles are played by Glenn Carter as Jesus Christ, Tim Rogers as Judas Iscariot and Rachel Adedeji as Mary Magdalene. The cast also includes David Burilin, Alistair Lee, Ed Handoll, Andy Barke, Tim Oxbrow, Richard J Hunt, Johnathan Tweedie, Cellen Chugg Jones, Michael Ward and Lizzie Ottley.
Glenn’s performance of Jesus is top draw. From start to finish his portrayal of the biblical character with a slight rock twist is played to Glenn’s usual professional standards. Glenn played the same role on Broadway for which he received a Most Outstanding Performance in a Musical Award from the Drama League.
Tim’s performance as Judas almost makes the audience feel sorry for a character who throughout time is seen as a betrayer, yet this performance by Tim makes you see the other side of such a prominent figure.
2009 X factor finalist Rachel plays Mary having most recently appearing in the West End and on the national tour of the successful musical Thriller Live. She plays the character brilliantly with excellent acting and a fantastic strong voice throughout.
Act One sees Judas concerned about his friend, Jesus, and his rising popularity. While you can sense the love is still there for his friend, he believes that he is just a man not the son of God. He also feels that Jesus could be seen as a threat to the Roman Empire. The end of the first half see’s one of the bible’s most famous scene, The Last Supper, where Jesus pours wine and passes bread proclaiming that they are his blood and his body.
Act Two starts with Judas appearing with Roman soldiers who seize Jesus. Judas is wracked with guilt for betraying his friend and fears he will only be remembered as a traitor. The final scene’s see Jesus ‘nailed’ to the cross while Mary and Judas reflect on the impact he had on their lives while he dies.
The set was of a standard fitting for a West End production with the central steps being used in a number of ways. A special mention has to go to the crew for producing the set and also the technical team with the lighting.
Overall the show, which has duration of just over two hours including an interval, was a massive success for its opening night and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Jesus Christ Superstar runs at Venue Cymru until the 5th September with the show starting at 7.30pm. Matinee performances are on Wednesday (today), Thursday and Saturday starting at 2.30pm.
Tickets can be booked via the website www.venuecymru.co.uk, the box office on 01492 872000 or by calling into the theatre itself.