REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until September 19

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

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Powerful and thought-provoking, this production of Jesus Christ Superstar really packs a punch.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera tells the story of the final days of Jesus’ life.

Harrowing yet uplifting, the cast did an impeccable job of capturing the overwhelming and raw emotion of the tale.

I know you’re not really meant to root for the bad guy, but I couldn’t help but find myself on Team Judas.

Tim Rogers gave a formidable performance of the character. Belting out huge, glass-shattering notes, he was in true command of the role and I couldn’t stop myself from watching his every move.

Glenn Carter took on the role of Jesus and gave a suitably sombre performance but he wasn’t as captivating as Judas was. It’s a tough character to play, I’m sure, and Carter did it well, but he came off a bit too egotistical for the selfless son of God.

I know it’s an odd thing to be so upset about, but I found it annoying that Jesus had bare feet throughout the entire show. Everyone else was wearing shoes or sandals, but my attention was repeatedly drawn to Jesus’ exposed toes.

X Factor’s Rachel Adedeji stepped into the role of Mary Magdalene. While she gave nice performances of songs like Everything’s Alright and I Don’t Know How To Love Him, I wasn’t blown away. Those are real show-stealing moments and I felt she could have got more from them.

Tom Gilling, however, took his moment to shine and really went for it. Walking onto the stage in his King Herod garb – complete with nipple tassels – he seized the audience’s attention. His outrageous costume and energetic performance of Herod’s Song had everyone chuckling uncontrollably.

Another stand-out performance came from Johnathan Tweedie as Pontius Pilate. The raw turmoil he portrayed through his renditions of Pilate and Christ and Trial by Pilate / 39 Lashes was striking and forceful.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Vocally, Cavin Cornwall really made his mark as Caiaphas. His booming bass tones made him seem all the more evil and he was a deliciously-wicked villain, and backed up brilliantly by the Priests.

The staging was quite simple but elegant. Aside from the climactic scene, the scenery didn’t change very much, but the chorus really kept things interesting, portraying Jesus’ followers, people desperate for his healing touch and those keen to send him to his death. When they sang together, the theatre really filled with the power of their voices.

The crucifixion scene was very well done. The deafening silence from the audience and distressing screams of Jesus coupled with only the echoing bangs of him being nailed to the cross was searing.

Carter portrayed the shocking scene so well that it was quite difficult to watch.

The crucifixion scene was very well done. The deafening silence from the audience and distressing screams of Jesus coupled with only the echoing bangs of him being nailed to the cross was searing.

The famous score is packed with memorable songs like What’s The Buzz?, Hosanna and Superstar, during which, you’ll be dying to sing along.

The show was stirring and poignant and had emotions running high throughout the theatre. It’s definitely one to catch while it’s in town.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal until Saturday, September 19. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Jesus Christ Superstar is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.