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Jesus Christ Superstar - Milton Keynes Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar is a global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for decades. This award-winning, reimagined production comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this week. Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks of the life of Jesus Christ. It celebrates its rock roots with a legendary score including I Don’t Know How to Love Him, Hosanna, King Herod’s Song, and Superstar.

This is my absolute favourite Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The music is rousing. The lyrics are clever and respectfully do justice to the words of the Lord. I have seen many versions of the show over the years but this reimagined show is truly outstanding and left me speechless. It feels like a spiritual rebirth of the show. The scene opens to what looks like a fallen cross on the stage. The set is sparce and it’s the use of the stage that is genius. I was not expecting contemporary dance but wow… and I mean WOW! This choreography is just phenomenal. Directed by Timothy Sheader with choreography by Drew McOnie, I have never seen JCS like this and I absolutely loved it. Each dance move really emphasised the familiar and poignant words that were being sung. Some of the moves were reminiscent of David Bowie’s Blackstar video (If you know, you know). The brilliant use of lighting gave a sensitivity to the action on stage. The costumes lend themselves to a dystopian future with a nod to history here and there with hareem pants and Roman faces.

Ian Macintosh plays Jesus and he was just outstanding. The best Jesus I have ever seen. (There is a sentence I don’t use every day). He was almost like a reluctant pop star but could have a record deal tomorrow with that voice. I would buy his records. See how quickly people follow? The emotion in Ian’s acting give a gravitas to his words. He really didn’t want to die, but he could see the path before him. His conversation with God (Gethsemane) was such a moving piece.

Judas is played by Shem Omari James and you could feel his pain for having to betray Jesus. With his soulful voice he was perfect for the most well-known song ‘Superstar’. It was a nice touch to have his hands being tainted silver with the money he took to betray Jesus. Mary was played by Hannah Richardson and she is superb. Her acting gave us such a caring and empathetic character and Hannah can really sing. I not only loved her singing ‘I don’t know how to love him’ but also ‘Could we start again please’.

One of my favourite scenes is Herod’s, which offers a lighter element in such a dark subject. Herod delivered in abundance and the people’s heads on plates was a nice touch to demonstrate he is powerful and can take your life as quickly as he can burst into a tap number. The whole ensemble were just amazing. I was truly blown away by everyone’s performance on that stage. So much going on and everyone needs to be in the right place at the right time. Kudos to the band who rocked out those numbers – that guitaring was awesome. This isn’t called a rock opera for nothing.

I always feel the proof of a good show is to go and see it again. I have put my money where my mouth is and I am taking my sons to see it on Wednesday as a birthday treat to myself.

What’s the buzz… I’ll tell you. It’s Jesus Christ Superstar at Milton Keynes Theatre this week. This show is so good it will reaffirm your faith in musicals.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 4 November.


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