An out­stand­ing mu­si­cal

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

Years ago, I went to a pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tion of Je­sus Christ Su­per­star in Welling­ton at the Michael Fowler Cen­tre.

It was the full nine yards — Mar­garet Ur­lich, Mark Had­low, Frankie Stevens and Jay Laga’aia, a full band, sound­track for pur­chase and a very slick pro­duc­tion of An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s fa­mous rock opera. I loved it so much I bought the sound­track and it spent years in and out of my car’s tape deck.

I ap­proached Cen­tre Stage’s pro­duc­tion of Je­sus Christ Su­per­star, play­ing at the Great Lake Cen­tre this week, with slightly dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions. While all the Cen­tre Stage shows I’ve been to over the years have been fan­tas­tic and I ex­pected this one would be too, it’s fair to say I didn’t think it would quite mea­sure up to the in­ter­na­tional show I’d seen years be­fore.

How wrong I was. If any­thing, this one in Taupo¯ was bet­ter. An in­no­va­tive set, great per­for­mances from every­body in­volved and the more in­ti­mate at­mos­phere of the Great Lake Cen­tre had me closer and more in­volved in the story that I’d been last time d. The ec­stasy and the agony seemed so much closer, the sad­ness and frus­tra­tion and anger of the prin­ci­pal play­ers so much harder to bear. More than once I had to swal­low a large lump in my throat, while at other points I had to re­strain my­self from singing along.

Months of re­hearsals and work has gone into this, and it shows. From the slick band to the cos­tumes, danc­ing and singing, there was lit­tle to fault. The large en­sem­ble cast worked to­gether seam­lessly to put on a su­perbly-ex­e­cuted per­for­mance, no easy mat­ter with many to­gether on stage at one time.

With so many fine per­form­ers it is hard to sin­gle any­body out, how­ever An­drew Tat­tle in the lead role was a reve­la­tion with strong vo­cals and pow­er­ful act­ing. Jo Br­ere­ton’s beau­ti­ful singing voice did jus­tice to Mary Mag­da­lene’s three solo pieces and Peter Moore as Ju­das matched im­pres­sive arm mus­cles with an im­pres­sive top range as he wres­tled with anger, guilt and re­morse. Ge­orge Hone was ap­pro­pri­ately oily as creepy priest An­nas. Ross Humphries stood out as Pon­tius Pi­late, dom­i­nat­ing the stage and show­ing fine singing and act­ing from thought­ful to en­raged, a high­light in an evening full of them. Do not miss this show.

Lau­rilee McMichael

Photo / Su­sana Buck­ton

Jo Br­ere­ton plays Mary and An­drew Tat­tle is Je­sus in Cen­tre Stage’s pro­duc­tion of Je­sus Christ Su­per­star.

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