Reviewed by Paula Citron
Jesus Christ Superstar
Stratford Shakespeare Company
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed by Des McAnuff
Performed by Paul Nolan, Josh Young Chilina Kennedy, Brent Carver and Bruce Dow
May 16 to Oct. 29, 2011
Stratford artistic director Des McAnuff understands musicals. His production of the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar is passionate, poignant and powerful.
Lisa Shriver’s muscular choreography is brilliant, as are Paul Tazewell’s cross/century costumes. Robert Brill’s scaffold and ladder set may be a bit too busy as McAnuff hurls his cast through space, but it suits the tense mood of the show.
Paul Nolan plays the lead and he is sensational, at once driven and compassionate. Josh Young as Judas almost steals the show with his tortured performance. Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Brent Carver as Pontius Pilot and Bruce Dow as Herod are all spectacular in delivery of character.
Despite the ear-splitting loudness of the amplification, the audience sat there entranced – and I’m talking about the elderly set at a weekday matinee.
Rumour has it that things are afoot to get this production to Broadway.
The triumphant Jesus Christ Superstar continues at Stratford’s Avon Theatre until Oct. 29.