"Deflated" By Jesus Christ Superstar At Wimbledon

Review: Jesus Christ Superstar

I was really looking forward to Jesus Christ Superstar at the New Wimbledon Theatre and as soon as I heard the initial guitar riff, I felt quite excited but, sad to say, I left the theatre feeling rather deflated and somewhat surprised that the show got a standing ovation. Did I miss something?

I heard some murmurings which confirmed that I was not the only one who did not think the production worthy of such an ovation, particularly among those of my generation who may have seen the original or at least owned the 1971 'concept' album.

That said, it is not fair to compare this production with one that was over 30 years ago.

The setting had a medieval feeling with the apostles dressed in quite drably coloured costumes to contrast with J C's predictably all-white ensemble.

I realised that I much preferred the characters that you might categorise as 'the baddies'.

The rich tones of Calvin Cornwall as Caiaphas led the priests/Pharisees who got the loudest cheer of Act One but it was probably the very camp Herod played by Tom Gilling which stole the show.

Rachel Adedeji as Mary Magdalene seemed to be struggling with her phrasing and breathing during 'Everything's Alright', but seemed more at ease with 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' and her lack of acting experience showed from time to time.

Tim Rogers playing Judas has an impressive pedigree. yet seemed to have trouble hitting some notes during the performance and while Glenn Carter as Christ could certainly hold a note, I preferred it when he was singing in a lower register rather than falsetto. On the other hand, I was impressed by Cellen Chugg Jones who was playing Peter.

The cruxifiction scene was a bit protracted for my taste, and I agreed with the comment which I heard from the row behind me that there was a touch of overacting going on.

The director, Bob Thomson and his production team as well as the majority of the cast all have long lists of credits and a wealth of experience so let's hope that I am in the minority in my disappointment and the standing ovation which the show received is a good omen and a better indication than my opinion that other theatre goers will enjoy this production.

By Anne Horsburgh

September 27, 2015