Church Stages Jesus Christ Superstar
Encourage Church, Romsey (Vic.) is presenting the Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice Rock Opera Jesus Christ Superstar from October 12 – 27, 2012 and Russel Servis, newsletter editor nearby theatre company Mount Players, caught the final dress rehearsal of Michael and Susan Soleri’s production. Russel reports:
I can say, with barely a hint of local theatrical nepotism, superb – singers, dancers and musicians all nail it from start to end, and the simple but effective set and costumes are a credit to the imagination of a director on a tight budget. Glen Armistead is in fine voice as a gentle but passionate Jesus; there are great vocals from Greg Pascoe and Casey Withoos (last seen together in Sweeney Todd); sweet chorus harmonies from a lot of other familiar faces; a startling, spot-on, counter-tenor from Scott Hasse and an equally surprising bass from Ben Lawrance; and Suzy Coulson, Jess Ryan and Ben Prewer performing one of the most hilariously sarcastic dance sequences ever staged inside a church probably anywhere in the Macedon Ranges.
If you’re familiar with Superstar you’ll know it contains many funky tunes; if you’re a little averse to Lloyd-Webber or don’t know the show, take the plunge because this is a lot different musically to his later heavily-orchestrated work and contains moments of genuine late 60s soul, as well as some very lovely pop ballads. For his part, Tim Rice created what has to be one of the cleverest (and most original) adaptations of a well-known text ever staged. Just don’t expect any dialogue—the entire story is sung, this is a genuine rock opera.
Book online through Trybooking.com, codename ‘Jesus’. Tickets $24/$20
Encourage Church, 7 Mitchell Court, Romsey (just off Park St).
Image: Ben Prewer (disciple), Ben John (guard), Glen Armistead (Jesus Christ), The Voice contestant Casey Withoos (Mary Magdalene) and Leigh Johnson