Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Tim Rice. Harvest Rain. Playhouse, QPAC. (Qld). Aug 20 to 29. Director: Tim O’Connor. Musical Director: Maitlohn John

It’s hard to believe that it is forty years since the original concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar was released, because musically the work is still so contemporary, exciting and theatrical. Harvest Rain’s outstanding production brought out all the passion and drama of Webber and Rice’s iconic rock opera. Luke Kennedy received and deserved top billing for his portrayal of Jesus. His performance was beautifully realized, compelling, and sung to perfection. His top notes in “Gethsemane” just blew me away. Next in the high vocal stakes was Lionel Theunissen as Pilate, whose rich tones elevated the three song role to something major. Naomi Price as Mary grabbed the audience with “Everything’s Alright” and put her own stamp on the show’s hit tune “I don’t know how to Love Him.” Tod Strike was an intense Judas, Lawrie Esmond’s arresting bass drew attention as Caiaphas, and Steven Tandy as Herod camped it up delightfully in the show-stopping “King Herod’s Song.” How long is it since we’ve seen a crowd scene on stage where it actually looked like a crowd? With a cast of 62 at his disposal, plus 15 musicians who were seated around the set, director Tim O’Connor filled the stage at every opportunity with colorful tableaux. His production was pacy, tight, and delivered on the show’s big moments. Big kudos to set designer Josh McIntosh for his interior of a cathedral set - it worked brilliantly. Sound was clean and clear, and costumes were of the cargo pants, T-shirt and jeans variety, a look that was in keeping with this fresh and original production.

Peter Pinne

Photo: Naomi Price as Mary and Luke Kennedy as Jesus

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