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

Yesterday, 11:47
Dom's ITN Westminster career:

My one major contribution to British public life is the fact that all live Westminster broadcasts now have to take place ten feet in the air

Read more
Yesterday, 11:10
Arlington Row © Raymond Llewellyn, Shutterstock

From A to Z, we scroll through the alphabet and reveal 26 reasons why the Cotswolds is such a wonderful place for visitors to explore, and residents to call home

Read more
Yesterday, 09:57
Lauren on a Bug Hunt at Batsford

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Cotswolds as an Area Of Outstanding Beauty, there’s plenty going on to fill the end of the school holidays with fun and activities

Read more
Mon, 10:22
Cotswold Juice Company's juices are available to order now

Cheltenham has welcomed The Cotswold Juice Company, delivering 100% organic, freshly made, cold-pressed juices and smoothies to businesses and people at work in Gloucestershire.

Read more
Friday, August 19, 2016
Hypnos Bed

We all know that a good night’s sleep is vital to our general health and wellbeing and that the right bed is more than just another piece of furniture.

Read more
Friday, August 19, 2016
South Green House, Southwold

From seaside escapes to eco-friendly self-builds, take a tour of three motivating and beautiful renovations that will give you serious house envy

Read more
Friday, August 19, 2016
Landscape Painter of the Year

Enter our Cotswold landscape painting competition and be in with a chance of winning £500 and having your work exhibited in one of the Cotswolds’ most prestigious art galleries

Read more
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Nick Latimer, director in the national audit, tax and advisory Cheltenham office of Crowe Clark

Nick Latimer, director in the national audit, tax and advisory Cheltenham office of Crowe Clark whitehill asks: is it time to take our tax system apart and start again?

Read more
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
University of Gloucestershire's Professor Adam Hart

Grabbing rhino issues by the horns, Professor Adam Hart discusses the rhino trade in a series of public lectures at the University of Gloucestershire

Read more
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Aquarius Spa at Whatley Manor

Combine two of life’s little luxuries this summer with a relaxing half day Aquarias Spa experience followed by a deliciously indulgent afternoon tea for two at Whatley Manor - £100 (saving £48).

Read more
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
BBC's Countryfile crew at Blenheim Palace

As the 2016 event came to close, organisers confirmed the event will return to Bleinheim Palace after a high number of visitors enjoyed the weekend of British countryside experience

Read more
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) retains her Olympic title, whilst posting a new Olympic record with her dancing partner Valegro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 15, 2016. Photography: Jon Stroud Media

Gloucestershire’s Charlotte Dujardin retains her Olympic title, whilst posting a new Olympic record with her dancing partner Valegro at Rio 2016

Read more
Monday, August 15, 2016
EMI tickets on sale now!

The last few tables are on sale for the 2016 Cotswold Life Engineering Manufacturing Innovation Awards dinner!

Read more
Monday, August 15, 2016
© Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Pick your way through a moonscape of rocks and crags and you’ll find some amazing wildlife in Gloucestershire

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