Jesus Christ Superstar
Despite having never seen the stage production, Jesus Christ Superstar has been my favourite musical since as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used to listen to Mum’s copy of the soundtrack from the 1992 Australian version – featuring John Farnham as Jesus and Kate Ceberano as Mary Magdelene – and I loved it. So, I was pretty excited to see that Tim Minchin had been announced to play Judas in the new UK production this year. And I was even more excited when I discovered that they’d filmed said production, which also featured Mel C and Chris Moyles, and that it would be playing in selected Australian cinemas for a very limited time.
On Tuesday evening, armed with an overpriced choc top, I settled into my seat at the Rivoli in Camberwell, and waited for the arena spectacular to begin. And when it did, I was honestly blown away. Set during the aftermath of the London riots, the production was absolutely perfect. Superstar winner Ben Forster made a very convincing Jesus Christ, and Mel C performed brilliantly as Mary Magdelene. But the absolute stand-out performance came from Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot. Despite being quite a fan of his comedy, I wasn’t quite sure how well Tim would be able to pull off such a character, but he really did an amazing job. From the opening number, “Heaven on Their Minds”, Tim’s vocals were strong, angry and captivating. His Judas was callous yet sympathetic, and was without a doubt the star of the show.
Chris Moyles’ scene as King Herod was quite a delight, turning the trial into a reality show. Despite the textual references to Rome and Jerusalem, the modern setting worked really well, incorporating mobile phones and CCTV into the visuals of the story. The actual filming and editing of the stage production was also done rather effectively. I had been a little worried that watching a stage musical in a cinema would be a rather disconnected and unengaging experience, but it was quite the opposite.
Jesus Christ Superstar is no longer in cinemas, but never fear: there will be an international release of the tour DVD in early 2013, and the stage production has been confirmed to tour Australia some time in the not-so-near future!