Monday, 25 July 2016

Review: Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar 
Open Air Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 21st July 2016

Timothy Sheader and Drew McOnie have successfully reinvented one of my all-time favourite musicals. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera has been staged to give it the feel of a live gig; the whole experience certainly feels like an event, completed with simplistic yet highly effective design from Tom Scutt.

The show belongs to Tyrone Huntley whose performance as Judas is off the scale. Huntley's vocal power blew my mind, he owns song after song and commands the stage from beginning to end. I've seen Huntley shine in all sorts of roles over the years, but his portrayal of Judas is career defining and deserving of award after award.

Declan Bennett puts his own spin on Jesus, He seemed to hold back during most the show before giving a passionate rendition of the almighty 'Gethsemane'. Along with dry ice galore and incredible lighting, the song certainly made its mark.  

David Thaxton (Pilate), Peter Caulfield (Herod) and Cavin Cornwall (Caiaphas) all gave stand out performances whilst Joel Harper-Jackson (Simon) impressed with a stellar rendition of 'Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem'. 

McOnie's choreography carries the show - it's inventive, stylistic and fills the space superbly. It's nice to see such a large ensemble onstage, executing the choreography with such individuality. Despite some technical issues which delayed the performance, the band are loud and in your face under the direction of Tom Deering. The score is electrifying. 

I wasn't a fan of the recent UK tour or arena production, so it's thrilling to finally see a fresh production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The piece works well in the setting of the Open Air Theatre and is worth the ticket price for Tyrone Huntley's performance alone.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Jesus Christ Superstar runs at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre until 27th August 2016.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

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