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Jesus Christ Superstar Nottingham Theatre Royal 8.1.24




“Jesus Christ Superstar” at Theatre Royal Nottingham, under Timothy Sheader’s direction, is a captivating blend of the classical and contemporary. The set design by Tom Scutt, featuring rusting girders forming crucifix shapes, creates a powerful backdrop that enhances the narrative’s depth. This design, juxtaposed with an ethereal olive tree, symbolizes the intersection of the earthly and the divine.

The costumes and makeup, envisioned by Tom Scutt and Guiseppe Cannas, artfully merge past, present, and ancient styles. The modern hairstyles provide distinct identities for each character, while maintaining cohesion, especially among Jesus’ followers.

Drew McOnie’s choreography infuses the production with contemporary dynamism. The precision and energy in the movements effectively convey the story through dance. This feels like a well thought out interpretation of this classic piece.

Ian McIntosh’s portrayal of Jesus stands out, offering a mix of strength and vulnerability, complemented by a remarkable vocal performance that would see some rock stars shiver with envy. Hannah Richardson, as Mary, shines particularly in ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him.’

The lighting design by Lee Curran is another key aspect, contributing significantly to the storytelling. It is most notable during the crucifixion scene, where its interplay with light and shadow adds a profound layer of symbolism. There is some very clever and subtle lighting highlighting symbolism throughout the production and it is rare to see such masterful use of light to enhance an experience.

The portrayal of Herod is a nod to the flamboyant style popularized by Julian Clary. It brings a touch of humor and charisma to the role, offering a contrasting lightness to the show’s intensity. This performance captures the audience with its blend of theatricality and homage to Clary’s historic interpretations. For me, this was breath taking; this was a performance that would rank amongst the top in the country. It was so flawlessly executed I could watch that one scene over and over again.

This rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a compelling watch. It skillfully intertwines the sacred and the profane, blending historical elements with modern interpretations. The production’s creativity and vibrancy make it an unforgettable experience for both newcomers and those familiar with the musical’s various adaptations over the years.

Editor of LLR since 2005

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