Jesus Christ Superstar made its appearance in Newcastle at the Metro Radio Arena as part of it’s fantastic 2012 Arena tour. After a nationwide search was put out on TV in a search for Jesus Christ (I must admit that I did not watch very much of the TV show, saw small parts so had seen the winner Ben Forster sing). But other than the title song and I Don’t Know How To Love Him I didn’t know any of the other songs. Obviously everyone knows the story of Jesus, and how he sacrificed himself. But how this is worked into the songs is very clever!
But this musical takes it all into modern times, so modern that we see riots, hoodies, iPad’s, a nightclub and a very strong link to Twitter and #FollowThe12. I thought that was very clever and such a good way to really link to modern times. However, I feel a lot of the more mature members of the viewing audience would not have given that much extra thought as they wouldn’t have realised the significance.
At the interval my description of the first act was “different” . . . It was hard to decide if that was in a good way or a bad way. I really could not decide what exactly I thought of it at all. I was left thinking what have I just saw on the stage. But I found myself liking Judas more than Jesus himself, after all that is the bigger role.
But as the second act started and the scenes/songs between Judas and Jesus became more intense I really started to get lost in the show and really enjoy every second of it. I eventually made my mind up that I totally loved the show, I thought it was such an interesting take on the events to bring it into present day life and the songs still hold so much meaning. I really found myself getting very emotional the way the actors put everything into the songs and helping us understand the pain. It really was just brilliant, but Chris Moyles appearance as King Herod came at the perfect time in the style of a game show host with a very amusing song and dance routine. It really lightened the mood and had the audience laughing, I particularly liked the local reference of Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew!
The problem with this story we all knew exactly how it was going to end. We knew Judas and his betrayal but his suicide was so graphic, a tree, a scarf . . . Jesus on the cross really does tug at the heart-strings, still so difficult to see that. The way it was done with the lights and rises up high above the stage for the whole arena to see. You cannot help but feel emotional! Then the spirit of Judas appears with the song “Superstar” which I thought was done brilliantly with the dancers now appearing as angels, had he reached heaven yet?
I thought Tim Minchin really stole the show as Judas, Mel C a former Spice Girl was good and proven once again that she was the Spice Girl who can really sing, but her voice always sounds the same. I was still very happy to say that I have now seen 1/5 of the group I loved during the 90s.
This was the first show that I have seen on an arena tour and it really is a different experience to seeing a show in a theatre. It’s quite difficult to explain exactly how it is different but it doesn’t feel the same when you head it. They need to try to make it bigger as well. I very much enjoyed my first experience of Jesus Christ Superstar, and have listened to the original recorded soundtrack since seeing the show.