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