Encore Review: Jesus Christ Superstar At The Barbican

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Barbican 2019. Photo: Johan Persson
Jesus Christ Superstar - The Barbican 2019. Photo: Johan Persson

★★★ | ‘It’s undeniably one of the best revivals of our time.’ 

Where: The Barbican Theatre

Review date: Wednesday 10th July 2019

About the Show: 

Following two sell-out seasons at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar returns to London for a limited season.

Originally written as a rock opera album, Jesus Christ Superstar made its debut on the Broadway stage in 1971. The show transferred to the West End the following year where it ran for eight years and went on to become one of the most enduring musicals of its time.

Its rock musicians, contemporary design and thrilling choreography make this energetic and emotionally charged production unforgettable.

Encore rating factor

Standing Ovation: ★★★★★
Ensemble: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★

Our Thoughts:

It’s not often I am left speechless by a musical, especially a revival where I am familiar with the material, however, with Jesus Christ Superstar, I was on my feet before they even began the curtain call.

Some would call it the greatest story ever told. I would say this rings true in the Timothy Sheader and Drew McOnie version of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber classic. From start to finish I have never been more devoted to the story of Jesus Christ. The musical seems brand new and fresh; showing that if the material is great, it will last a lifetime.

Sheader presents the story like an urban myth. This makes the production extremely current. He has also created the perfect contrasting images on stage; in a moment of brutality, we see the presence of glitter which makes for an intriguing watch. He also presents some of the most famous religious images in prominent and intelligent ways.

This is all beautifully combined with some of the most outstanding choreography I have ever witnessed from Drew McOnie. Whilst it is notably contemporary, I can’t help but feel McOnie has created a whole new style of his own. The set, costume and lighting design are the cherry on the cake, provided by Tom Scutt and Lee Curran, striking a glorious balance between theatre and concert.

The cast is completely transcendent, led by Robert Tripolino in the role of Jesus. Beginning as a leader, we see his demise to the crucifixion. A completely compelling performance and his version of Gethsemane shattered my heart and blew my mind.

Ricardo Alfonso takes on the role of Judas, delivering the most powerful performance of the evening. Alfonso is an incredible vocal talent; you cannot take your eyes off him. His Judas is gritty and earthy, and yet you yearn to love him.

Sally Garnett plays Mary, she performs with a cool ease, making classic songs feel like they were made now in a smooth jazz/blues club. It was lovely to hear such a different tone in the musical theatre scene.

Herod has one of the most notable songs in the production – Herod’s Song – in this version delivered with brilliant flamboyance and humour by Sam Buttery.

Matt Cardle in the role of Pilate is brilliant. His vocals are flawless, and he provides a real want for justice in the death of Christ.

Every member of this company deserves to be noted for their efforts in this production. I was drawn to every single member of this show and I think that’s always a sign of an immaculate production.

Overall Jesus Christ really is a Superstar in this remounting production at the Barbican Theatre. I implore you all to go and worship at this production’s feet. It’s undeniably one of the best revivals of our time.


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