6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar: until Saturday, March 29, 2014

01:50 26 March 2014

Jon Moses

Jon Moses

Archant

Candia McKormack reviews the opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar at Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral has given me some wonderful experiences over the years – breathtaking acrobatics by an Australian circus group for ‘How Like an Angel’; heart-achingly beautiful harmonies from the Mediaeval Baebes at the Winter Solstice; frighteningly beautiful sculptures as part of the Crucible exhibition; and the pure, unadulterated wonder of standing in the empty nave and cloisters and listening to the stories the ancient stone walls have to tell. And all this from someone who doesn’t ‘do’ religion.

The latest experience the Cathedral has offered up is in the form of tonight’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. As the Gloucester Operatic and Dramatic Society is celebrating its centenary this year, something special was on the cards, and blimey did they ever deliver.

The talented force of nature behind the production is producer and artistic director, Jerry Lane, who has pulled together something so mind-bogglingly ambitious that even he surely must have been wondering at one point what on earth he’d got himself into. The astonishing thing is that this is the very first time the musical has been performed in a cathedral and, added to that, it’s the largest production ever put on since it was penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice over 40 years ago.

With an orchestra of 70-plus members, the soaring vocals of Worcester-based Voices Unlimited and a strong cast of principal players, we were treated to a dynamic performance by nearly 200 individuals, bringing their own distinctive slant on what must be one of the greatest musicals ever written.

Although the cavernous Cathedral space is undoubtedly a joy to be in, it is also something of a challenge for performers, with a ludicrously long delay time, creating a chasm of difference in timing between the sound the performer makes and that which returns to the ears. This must have been maddeningly confusing, but handled beautifully by the performers, who wove their way around the audience, along the nave and into the heights of the organ loft.

The principal roles of Jesus (Jon Moses), Judas Iscariot (Daniel Haslam) and Mary Magdalene (Ria Keen) were performed with great conviction and emotion; of particular note were the dizzying heights of the vocal ranges of the male leads who not only pulled off brilliant falsettos, but did so with such depth of feeling that it took a concerted effort on my behalf to unravel my angst-ridden brow. The tension between ‘Jesus’ and ‘Judas’ was palpable, and Ria Keen’s ‘Mary’ made a wonderful foil to the oh-so-male rivalry between the two ‘best friends’. Another standout performance for me was by Malcolm White, playing Pontius Pilate, whose voice ringing out from the pulpit was a joy to hear (incidentally, Malcolm will be playing the part of Sweeney Todd in a GODS production at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre in July). I also thoroughly enjoyed Tristian Dior’s performances, who went from portraying a guilt-ridden Peter to a completely faaabulous (count the ‘a’s) Herod in the time it takes you to say ‘born performer’.

As we all know the story of the last seven days of Jesus’ life, I’m in no danger of revealing a spoiler, but the startlingly brilliant way Act II was delivered – including Judas’ suicide and the crucifixion – is not short of a complete triumph. There was certainly a stunned silence throughout the packed cathedral audience… and I don’t doubt a tear or two.

With a beautifully played musical score, and emotionally-driven performances from the entire cast, I would urge you to experience GODS’ own Jesus Christ Superstar for yourself.

*******

Jesus Christ Superstar runs until Saturday, March 29 at Gloucester Cathedral. Tickets range from £15 to £50 (VIP ticket, including drinks reception ‘meet and greet’, complimentary programme and best seats), and are available by calling 0845 652 1823 or visiting http://tickets.gloucestercathedral.org.uk/admitone/event.php?_evt=GC35

2 comments

  • I saw this production last night after eagerly waiting for the opening night and I was amazed! The review totally reflects what has been achieved here! GODS have been around for many years and have firmly earned their place as one of the countries oldest amateur dramatic societies. I am certain they feel over the moon to be able to perform this production in their 100th year. Even more humbling for the leading professional cast to have given up their valuable time to participate in this historic event. Well done.

    Report this comment

    PCharles

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Beautifully-written & very vivid write-up - thanks Candia, sounds like you really enjoyed this event! :-)

    Report this comment

    Steve Cann

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More from Cotswold Life

30 minutes ago

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
18:49

The Broadway Hotel have beaten stiff competition to win the title of ‘Best Hotel’ in the Visit Worcestershire Awards for Excellence.

Read more

Reece Shearsmith and Ken Stott are starring in The Dresser at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre, from Sept 27 to Oct 1, 2016

Read more
11:32

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in the Cotswolds this season.

Read more
Friday, September 23, 2016

Over 450 joined us at Cheltenham Racecourse, flying the flag for regional manufacturing, engineering and innovation excellence, at the second Cotswold Life Engineering Manufacturing Innovation Awards

Read more
Friday, September 23, 2016

Ross & Ross Food are hosting Christmas Pop Ups at Oxleaze Barn, serving festive feasts on Wednesday 14th December, Thursday 15th December and Friday 16th December.

Read more
Friday, September 23, 2016

The Ross & Ross Food November Pop Ups at LASSCO Three Pigeons will be held over four evenings: Friday 11th, Saturday 12th, Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November 2016.

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Avoid any tricks, and treat yourself to an evening at the Ross & Ross Food Halloween Pop-Up.

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Want a quick break from the Cotswolds, without spending half a day on the motorway or wedged into a seat on a cattle-class flight? A quick jaunt down the M5 and you too could be jumping the waves on a Devon beach

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn is upon us, and before long we’ll be gardening in the morning frost, lighting our fires and slow cooking on the stove as the shorter, cooler days of winter set in. At this time of year, so much of our time is spent inside and with so many occasions to welcome guests in the home it’s the perfect moment to consider renewing or updating your living room furniture.

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Filter or no filter, these locations are picture-perfect!

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Cotswolds is a county of beauty: with mesmerising views of the scenery, beautiful landmarks to discover and rolling green countryside to explore, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a walk. We pick 8 walks for you to try and have found the nearby pubs to prepare for your ramble or reward yourself when you finish!

Read more
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nestled in the valley between Broadway and Cheltenham, the charming town of Winchcombe is famous for its Cotswold stone cottages, narrow side streets and delightful independent shops. Take a look at our guide to help you make the most of your visit to this historic town that’s bursting with character.

Read more
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

With many people changing careers, switching jobs and re-skilling, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘long service’ is a thing of the past. However, Gloucestershire-based Campden BRI is celebrating seven members of staff achieving 25 years of service. Each member of staff will receive £250 in recognition of their service.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:


Family Business Awards link

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad
Cotswold Life Application Link


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search