Jesus Christ Superstar
Springers at the Cramphorn Theatre
18th November 2010
Jim Hutchon was in the Cramphorn ...
This was Director James French’s up-beat disco version of Lloyd Webber’s biblical classic, with disco lighting, disco tempo and, most of all disco volume, all played out in front of giant screens. For the many youngsters it was clearly adrenalin-pumping and they responded enthusiastically, though more than a few of the grey power brigade leaving the theatre, looked a little shell-shocked.
But it was an innovative, imaginative staging, complete with amplified voices for the main characters (not really necessary in the Cramphorn). Opening with a stageful of boots, the cast came on in sombre mood – then the show burst into life with Simon Brett as Judas giving a high-energy performance of 'Heaven on their Minds' which set the standard.
As always with Springers, the ensemble singing was rich and impressive, though all of the principals gave full value too. Jon Newman was a young Jesus supported by a moving performance from Sharon Gardner as Mary Magdalen – especially in the complex ‘Everything’s Alright’.
Special mention has to go to an outrageously camp King Herod, played with sumptuous grace by Barry Miles complete with a set of flowered pyjamas. With a cast of more than 40, the choreography was outstanding, with smooth weaving and well drilled movements between the crowd, the Apostles and the scheming officials such as John Escott out to crucify the man.
Electric sound and thudding beats came from an electric band led by Ian Myers as MD. This was a truly stunning evening, and a brave leap in imagination for Springers.
photograph: Peter Langman