The legendary “Jesus Christ Superstar” from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, was brought to life, once again, last night, at the “Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival”, which is part of the “Everyman Theatre”. This biopic, stage production, tells the story, of Jesus Christ’s, final week on earth, which includes, scenes of love, heartache and betrayal. This particular production, has been fully brought, into the 21st century, with the careful use of current day items, like mobile phones and video cameras, which really create, a contemporary feel, to the 70s musical.
Playing “Jesus Christ” was “Ashley Richards”, who was a perfect choice, for such an iconic role. Richard’s sheer passion and determination, really shone through, especially during the “last supper” scene, which was very moving. We also have to commend Richard’s artistic abilities, during the crucifixion scene, as he delivered an extremely haunting performance and really connected, with the characters holy persona. Richards, was also very natural, in his stance and general demeanour, which resulted, in a completely flawless, performance. Well done sir!
The ensemble were superb and displayed a fantastic energy, throughout the whole production. Their dancing skills were great and we have to commend “Richard Tunley”, for the incredible choreography. The ensemble also had a very cool “Swagger”, about them, which really enhanced, the productions, 21st century appeal.
The stage set, was very tastefully presented, with authentic looking, Palestine buildings, but again with a contemporary twist, as they had artistic graffiti, on them. The set looked incredibly well made and was further enhanced by being outdoors, as you could really see, the beauty of it, which can be difficult, inside a theatre, due to no natural lighting, being present.
The role of “Judas”, was played by “Owain Sullivan”, who was again superb, due to his brilliant voice and very professional, artistic abilities. Sullivan, really engaged with his role and seemed to have a great connection, with Richards, who played “Jesus Christ”. Having a connection, like this, between two leading cast members, is so fundamentally important, as it makes the whole production, extremely believable, which it was. Sullivan, is a very talented, actor, indeed and had a great stage presence. His portrayal of Judas’ demise, was also very commendable and tastefully executed.
Playing the part of “Mary Magdalene”, was “Giaccolina Crothers“, who really did, have the voice, of an angel. Crother’s rendition of “I don’t know how to love him”, was sadly hit, by a mic failure, but in true west end style, Crothers continued and still sang it beautifully. Bravo for that! We also have to mention, how incredible, her interpretation was, of the characters, real life struggles, including prostitution and loss, the audience seemed to really connect with her heartache.
“David Stephens” played the part of “Pontius Pilate” and delivered a fantastic portrayal, of the character. His acting abilities were solid and authoritative, exactly how they should be, for this role. We must also applaud him, for being able, to convey, such difficult scenes, which can be seen as quite disturbing. It takes a very special, kind of actor, for that. Bravo sir!
In conclusion, this was a wonderful performance, from an incredible cast and production team. The outdoor setting, also plays a huge part, in the productions success, as pairing this, with the wonderful talent, seen here, it delivers a special performance, that was actually quite enchanting, at times. We were truly captivated, from beginning to end and left wanting more! It was also refreshing to see, this nearly 50 year old musical, brought in to the digital age, which will keep this show, going for another 50 years, we hope.
This production is playing until Saturday, you don’t want to miss it! As it’s a fraction of the cost, of a west end production, but still, in our opinion, of west end status! Just spectacular.