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REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar (UK Tour, Edinburgh Playhouse)

Updated: Feb 27

6 February 2024

Edinburgh Playhouse

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour 2023 / 2024

Olivier Award-winning, iconic musical Jesus Christ Superstar has arrived at Edinburgh Playhouse. The UK tour of this Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production opened in Manchester in September 2023 and it will continue to tour across the UK through 2024, including newly announced dates at Glasgow's King's Theatre this July and August. [More detail on the Glasgow return here]



It's no secret that Jesus Christ Superstar is one of my favourite stage musicals; the 1970's rock-opera soundtrack has been part of my life for many years. But although I am a fan, I am also very fussy about it. Glowing reviews are not guaranteed. I do not want 'reimagined productions' to mess with it too much. The score is already perfect, the book is compact but impactful, and it has endured as a musical for over 50 years for a reason: It's a classic.


Thankfully this new UK tour production hits all the right notes in terms of being fresh and innovative without losing any of its identity. The orchestral score is sensational and the sound levels are just right to allow the musicians to shine without overshadowing the dialogue.


The musicians are seated onstage for this production; a core part of the action and rightly so. The Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice soundtrack is the essence of Jesus Christ Superstar, and so rousing it is that my heart started racing during the overture and did not let up for a second. Far from sounding dated, this is Webber and Rice at their very best.


Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour cast 2023 2024. Photo credit: Paul Coltas

Jesus Christ Superstar focuses on the final weeks of Jesus's life, according to the gospels. Whether you believe this version of events or not, it's a poignant story of devotion and betrayal, love and regret. You don't need to be religious to appreciate it.


Told through the eyes of Judas, some of the action in the lead up to the Crucifiction is difficult to watch, but this production has introduced creative ways of dealing with many of the more challenging scenes. The staging and direction throughout is sublime, the silver mark of Judas is inspired, and the choreography by Drew McOnie is phenomenal. The dancers move as if possessed at times, expertly showcasing the frenzy of the crowds.


The imposing multi-level set never changes, but it is cleverly sectioned and lit to make us feel like it does. The cast use every corner and every layer in a expert fusion of set design and direction. For someone who has seen this musical many times, there is so much innovation to appreciate here, all of which improves and enhances the experience.


Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour cast 2023 2024. Photo credit: Paul Coltas

This legendary Lloyd-Webber / Rice musical is sung-through with very little downtime for the actors. It includes some iconic but notoriously difficult songs: ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, 'Damned for All Time', ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Superstar.’


The cast are excellent, with no-one in the ensemble anything less than an exceptional triple threat performer. The leads are impressive, with Hannah Richardson (Mary), Jad Habchi (Caiaphas), Matt Bateman (Annas) and Ryan O'Donnell (Pilate) particularly superb.


Timo Tatzber gave a sensational performance as the flamboyant and erratic King Herod. Pitched somewhere between the Emcee from Cabaret and King George from Hamilton, with just the perfect pivot from fun to frightening, Tatzber's Herod was foot and note perfect. A remarkable turn.


Ian McInTosh as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour with the cast 2023 2024. Photo credit: Paul Coltas

Leading the show in the titular role, Oliver Award nominated actor Ian McIntosh is simply divine as Jesus Christ. His modern, guitar playing, reluctant King of the Jews is devastating; and he gives his all in every scene. With his soulful voice and skillful control, every one of Jesus's songs is breathtaking; and his stunning Gethsemane is the highlight of the show. Many in the audience were on their feet for a mid-show standing ovation at the end of Gethsemane, and it was completely and utterly deserved. The lighting arrangement, the orchestra and McIntosh's voice come together to create Musical Theatre Heaven. This number is worth the price of your ticket alone.


Jesus Christ Superstar plays at Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 10th February and then continues on tour across the UK [Jump to tour listings] Don't miss it! This is a true classic of musical theatre and it has never been better.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


📸 production photos: Paul Coltas


 

Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour Cast (Edinburgh 6 February 2024)


Jesus Ian McIntosh

Judas Shem Omari James

Mary Hannah Richardson

Annas Matt Bateman

Caiaphas Jad Habchi

Pilate Ryan O'Donnell

Herod Timo Tatzber

Simon Luke Street

Peter Joshua Hawkins


Ensemble / Priests / Soul Singers:

Jasmine Jules Andrews, Carla Bertran, Daniel Bowskill, Paje Campbell, Myla Carmen, Louise Francis, Francis Foreman, Darius J James, Cassandra Lee, Stephen Lewis-Johnston, Charlie McCullagh, Jago Mottart, Mia Muskambeva, Timothy Roberts, Esme Rothero, Christopher Tendal, Jordan Michael Todd.


 


Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour Listings


*AD - Some links are affiliate links


Scottish dates:


🩶 Edinburgh Playhouse


🩶 Inverness, Eden Court Theatre


🩶 Glasgow King's Theatre

29 July - 3 August 2024 atg.com/Glasgow


🩶 All other UK venues and dates: https://uktour.jesuschristsuperstar.com/tickets/


 

This production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and the 2016 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, selling out two consecutive engagements in 2016 and 2017. The production played a West End engagement at the Barbican in 2019 before returning to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in concert version during the summer of 2020. The UK Tour runs in tandem with the hugely successful North America tour of the production which has to date played over 700 performances in over 90 venues since the tour opened in October 2019.


Produced by David Ian for Crossroads Live and Work Light Productions who present the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR


The 2023-2024 UK Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is produced by David Ian for Crossroads Live and Work Light Productions. The original production was produced by London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.


For additional information about this production, please visit www.jesuschristsuperstar.com


Jesus Christ Superstar UK Tour 2023 2024

 

🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.



📸 Find Lisa in the Theatre on Instagram for lots of photos, videos and fun stagey content


REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar (UK Tour 2023 / 2024) Edinburgh Playhouse, February 2024. Cast.


Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.

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댓글 2개


게스트
2월 09일

Hi Lisa, I don't think it was Ian McIntosh performing Jesus on the Thursday night ... do you know who? ..... sensational performance from him, stunning

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Lisa
Lisa
2월 11일
답글 상대:

Hi. It was probably Charlie McCullagh - he tends to do the evening of a mid-week show. Charlie is incredible and I've heard he's amazing as Jesus! I hope to see him as Jesus when JCS comes back to Glasgow later this year. You can also catch Charlie in 42 Balloons at The Lowry this April / May if that's handy for you x

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