REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar - Birmingham Hippodrome
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REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar – Birmingham Hippodrome

REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar – Birmingham Hippodrome

‘What’s The Buzz?’


The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar is rocking audiences on its UK tour, now at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Sat 27th April. The classic musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber has been revived in this minimalistic and reimagined production.

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar follows the extraordinary series of events during the final weeks of Jesus Christ. As seen through the eyes of Judas, the musical features a rock-infused score with songs like I Don’t Know How to Love HimGethsemane and Superstar. Opening with a rock-fuelled number Heaven on their Minds, this musical highlights the incredibly talented cast and their vocals.

REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar - Birmingham Hippodrome

Ian McIntosh leads as the title character with an intense performance and out-of-this-world singing voice. Shem Omari James makes for an excellent Judas, expertly mastering the complexity of his character and delivering powerful vocals throughout. The pair bring an electric energy to the stage with voices perfectly suited to their musical numbers. Louise Francis (covering for Hannah Richardson) as Mary gave a heartfelt performance with a soothing stage presence and such clarity in her voice.

Stealing the spotlight with his portrayal of King Herod, Timo Tatzber delivered an exuberant and memorable rendition of Herod’s Song. Along with exceptional performances from Ryan O’Donnell, Jad Habchi and Matt Bateman as Pilate, Caiaphas and Annas respectively – this is a show that’s vocal-heavy and the whole cast does the iconic musical score justice.

Timothy Sheader (Crazy for You) directs this production with his unique vision that’s theatrically immersive. The show’s pacing felt quite uneven, fast in places and slow in others but it’s an issue that’s resolved by the second act. The choreography from Drew McOnie is slick and flawlessly executed by the ensemble, however, its contemporary flare distracts the audience from the storytelling in places. Those unfamiliar with the story of Jesus Christ may struggle to understand exactly what’s happening due to the show’s abrupt nature.

REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar - Birmingham Hippodrome

The stunning lighting and sound design excel the theatricality of this production. Adopting a more modern tone, this revival has a strong sense of simplicity with a minimalistic set and costume design from Tom Scutt. The set is simple and effective but a greater variety would’ve helped communicate the plot more coherently. The occasional lack of diction in places made it hard to understand what was being sung, blurring the lines even further.

Overall, the show boasts outstanding vocals throughout but its loud and modern nature won’t sit right with everyone. It’s a must for all theatre-goers with its visually stunning lighting and flawless sound design.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 27th April – book here!

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