Jesus Christ Superstar (Live Arena Tour) On DVD

As it’s the time of year when just about every film that even mentions Christmas in the script no matter what the overall plot may be gets an outing it seems only right that we remember the true meaning of Christmas (by the way, why is the ‘t’ silent considering it’s Christ’s celebration not Chris’?) and watch the latest incarnation of Lord Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock musical smash. And anyway, it was either that or Fred Claus on Channel 5!

I wasn’t really sure what to quite expect as I sat down and prepared myself for 100 minutes of religious heavy metal. The cast is very “celebrity” with the lead role picked by public vote (although he does have a “proper” stage background) all mixed happily together with a reimagining of the timeline to position BC firmly into AD.

It could be good, it could be time shatteringly bad. It could be perfect Christmas fodder.

In the end, it managed to hit two out of three, which as Meatloaf once said, aint bad!

I’m still not sure whether it’s a case that it takes a while to get going per se, or whether it’s a case that it takes a while for you to accept the fact that Jesus Christ is preaching to a group of iPad wielding, hoody wearing “Disciples”, but either way, as we’re introduced to the characters and a world brought forward, my mind did wander a bit. Thankfully never enough to lose the plot (although having read the book, I knew the direction the story was heading), but enough to make wonder if I’d manage to stomach another turkey sandwich!

However, fear not, in the same way the it takes time for the turkey to defrost, warm up and dry out, so does Jesus Christ Superstar. Suddenly and without warning, you fall head first into it; you accept the world they’re in, the actions they take, and you even start to think that the cross continent casting that provides an Australian Judas arguing with a Liverpudlian Mary Magdalene as a stroke of modern genius portraying the perfect example of 21st century multiculturalism. And not a cynical move to bring in named “singing” celebrities to sell tickets!

Tim Minchin, for me, steals the show as Judas. He nails the balance of the role between hero and villain, creating the right amount of anger, jealously and disbelief twisted perfectly with an inner turmoil over his actions, his decisions and ultimately, a retrospective regret.

I think, however, that for a lot of people, their only connection to this will be through Radio 1 and a fleeting “ah yes, wasn’t that what Chris Moyle’s did after leaving the Breakfast Show?”. And yes, he’s in it, for a short, brief, purely there to provide the comedy, blink and you miss it, he’s popular and will sell tickets, if you only went for him you’d feel cheated kind of way. But hey, I’m not trying to be too harsh, it’s just a case that he has a stupid, overly greased hairdo, is by far the weakest singer (imagine Russell Crowe in Les Miserable – he can sing just not as well as the rest) and in the modern interpretation of King Herald, he’s a throw away casting. He’s “Widow Twankey”.

Reading this I’m sure you’re thinking “blimey he’s knocking this a bit” and I think as I’m nearing the end it’s time to write the conclusion and bring it all together. I enjoyed Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s entertaining, interesting and in a modern setting, leaves a thought provoking question about how society would deal with someone proclaiming to be the son of God. I just think it’s something to watch once a year, while wearing a Christmas cracker hat.

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Stage First Edition

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