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Theatre Review: Jesus Christ Superstar - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭


Jesus Christ Superstar, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's ground breaking and controversial musical that set the heather alight in the 70s is back on the road. Its current incarnation is a return to its theatrical roots following 2012's star-studded arena touring production.

The show's iconic numbers can be found on practically every musical theatre compilation album ever released and this enduring public appeal ensures that it can still punch its weight at the box office. The guitar hero length solos and humming bass line add the rocky edge which gives this musical its distinctive style. Paul Farnsworth's creatively designed set provides an impressive yet simple stage with an imposing giant crown of thorns floating menacingly overseeing the action.

Reprising  the role of Jesus, which he has played both on stage and  in film to great acclaim, Glenn Carter produces a credible interpretation however he appeared to struggle to reach some of the notes. The role of Jesus as written requires considerable vocal dexterity and the act one finale Gethsemene, arguably one of the harder sings in musical theatre, lacked impact despite Carter's efforts. Tim Rogers' Judas Iscariot is a strong adversary to Carter's Jesus but he too struggled to reach notes. However, his passionate portrayal masterfully captures Judas's inner conflict.

As Mary Magdalene, Rachel Adedeji produced a gentle performance that lacked in emotional depth. The iconic song I Don't Know How to Love Him should have been a showstopper but felt perfunctory and lacked passion.

Overall it's the ensemble pieces that inject real pace and colour to the piece. Kristofer Harding  deserves a notable mention for his show-stealing vocal acrobatics in Simon Zealotes / Poor Jerusalem. He lit up the stage and it's easy to see why he is also understudy Jesus. Tom Gilling's completely off-the-wall King Herod brought the house down with an over the top performance of Herod's Song featuring rather unforgettable nipple tassels. (And no, that's not an autocorrect!)

Despite promising elements, this production has too many "trials and tribulations", however fans of the show will not be disappointed. The music stands the test of time and  Jesus Christ Superstar is sure to continue enthralling audiences.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at the King's Theatre until Saturday 10th October. For tickets and information visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/Glasgow

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