Review: Jesus Christ Superstar

Written by on May 23, 2024

Review: Jesus Christ Superstar

21/05/2024 – The Lowry by Tiffany Chevis

Jesus Christ Superstar has been a theatrical megahit for over 50 years, helping elevate Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as the kings of musical theatre. The sung-through rock musical depicts Jesus’ last week from the perspective of Judas, unravelling questions of betrayal, faith, mob mentality, and martyrdom. The iconic telling under Tim Sheader’s direction remains as poignant as ever, with cleverly updated styling helping it continue to resonate with audiences.

Ian McIntosh takes the unenviable role of Jesus, bringing a calm power that belies remarkable vocal strength throughout, most notably in the number Gethsemane, which is a showstopper in every sense of the word. There were several moments

where the audience was left in complete silence, something I’ve not witnessed being respected for a very long time.


Shem Omari James’ Judas was passionate and desperate, turning an often- villainous character into one who demanded our sympathy. Damned for All Time / Blood Money casts a different light on his betrayal, and suggests more behind the
actions that may be assumed.

The whole cast were on point vocally, not an easy feat with no rests into spoken- word. Jad Habchi demonstrated the lowest range I’ve heard for his portrayal of Caiaphas, whilst Hannah Richardson gave Mary’s I Don’t Know How To Love Him all the heart and force of emotion it deserves. The one break in the atmospheric production came through Herod’s Song. For younger audiences who aren’t familiar with JCS, it has a touch of King George in Hamilton, and felt somewhat at odds with the overall tone rather than providing relief as you may expect.

Having not seen the show before, I was unaware of the context of the titular number. Such an iconic and seemingly upbeat tune was both captivating and yet immensely uncomfortable when paired with the onstage action. A chilling reminder of the power
a collective can have over an individual.

Tableaus of clever staging on the relatively empty space – save for a cross-shaped walkway – were countered with often frenetic movements devised by Drew McOnie (choreographer), Ashley Andrews (associate choreographer), and Christopher Tendai (resident choreographer), building tension and energy as the opinion of the
mob shifted.

This is not an easy story to tell, and many will have reservations about a whole host of aspects; from the subject matter, to character depictions, to whether it should have been produced at all. But you cannot deny the strength of the vocals throughout, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s incredible composition brought to life under Tom Deering’s musical supervision, and the undeniable talent of the band. This is a production that should be resurrected for many more years to come.

Book tickets and get tour details from the official site HERE.



Current track