Published: 18/08/2011 13:09 - Updated: 18/08/2011 13:11

Praise for Jesus Christ Superstar

Martin Bannon as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Martin Bannon as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, the first major production from Starlight Musical Theatre shows a lot of talent, ambition and loads of evidence of months of hard work.
But at opening night at Eden Court on Wednesday, it gaves away its age from the first, very 70s electric guitar twang.
And what probably seemed ground-breaking and revolutionary when the original recording concept became a stage show back in 1971, doesn't seem so now.
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera is no Joseph with its uplifting story, fun-packed singalong numbers and timeless quality.
Jesus Christ Superstar is the hard stuff.
And no-one in their right mind would go out for an evening's entertainment that included 39 lashes and an onstage  crucifixion.
But then there's the emotional rollercoaster, some very good songs and a handful of characters with compelling journeys through the week the show spotlights.
Starlight threw a lot of clever thinking and great casting at a story most of us know by heart.
And they added some original touches to try to update the contemporary feel, including a mini-climbing wall to get the characters from stage level up to the gallery structure that dominated the stage.
And Ickey McDonald's breakdancing as Simon Zealotes also brought us right up to date too.
Though it's worth seeing the show for Martin Bannon's performance as Jesus alone, the story is told from the point of view of Judas, and Matt Tyrer has as much emotional power to pack into his performance - and does.
Also worth looking and listening out for is Sasha Devine as Mary Magdalene with some of Jesus Christ Superstar's most iconic songs to sing, such as Everything's Alright and I Don't Know How To Love Him.
And her duet with James Twigg as Simon Peter with Could We Start Again Please? was a highlight.
Douglas Yule as King Herod and Trevor Nicol as Pontius Pilate matched big voices to their larger than life characters.
As far as scenes to remember, both the Den Of Thieves scene when Jesus dismisses the merchants from the temple and the threatening sick and beggars overwhelming him were beautifully done.
But it's as Jesus meets Judas one last time for the dramatic Superstar and the reality of a man being nailed to a giant cross centre stage for Crucifixion that almost take your breath away.
As the show ended on Wednesday night, the audience were silent, almost unsure whether to stop looking at the man in shadow on the cross in front of them or to clap - or to leave quietly.
The man next to me had come all the way from Stornoway to see a show he had never seen live before but whose music he loves.
Starlight Musical Theatre did him proud.
MC
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