Tuesday, October 3

Jesus Christ Superstar – Palace Theatre

It’s a musical institution, and it’s been given a brand new lease of life..

Jesus Christ Superstar at Manchester’s Palace Theatre as part of this UK Tour, starring the incredible Ian McIntosh as Jesus, is unquestionably the most creative rendition of this iconic musical that I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. From the moment the logo emblazed curtain rose, we were presented with a cast of awe-inspiring talent and jaw-dropping theatricality.

Directed by Timothy Sheader; this reimagined Rock Opera composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice delivers a totally different experience than I was expecting; it’s modern and refreshed, it feels like I’m watching the musical for the very first time again.

Ian McIntosh’s portrayal of Jesus was nothing short of divine. His powerful voice and captivating stage presence breathed new life into the character. His rendition of “Gethsemane” sent shivers down my spine, evoking a profound sense of empathy for Jesus’ inner turmoil and ultimate sacrifice. McIntosh’s portrayal made it impossible not to be moved by his performance.

To bring that extra star power; Julian Clary makes a brief but memorable appearance as Herod. Clary’s portrayal of the flamboyant, yet sinister, King Herod was a hit with the Manchester audiences. His wit, charm, and over-the-top extravagance brought a unique twist to the character, turning Herod’s scene into a true spectacle that had the audience in stitches.

Shem Omari James delivered an emotional portrayal as Judas and delivered incredible vocals; as did Hannah Richardson as Mary.

The entire ensemble cast deserves praise for their outstanding performances, as they flawlessly brought the story to life. The choreography by Drew McOnie paired with the simplistic costumes, and minimalistic set design were all masterfully executed, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience that perfectly complemented the exceptional talent on stage, which could sometimes be compared to a pop concert you’d see at an arena, with the use of held held microphones and an underlying ‘backstage’ feel to the performances, but it really worked!

The emotional depth and energy conveyed by the entire cast and crew left an indelible mark on the audience. This production of Jesus Christ Superstar managed to strike a perfect balance between reverence for the source material and innovative reinterpretation. It genuinely breathed new life into a classic, making it feel relevant and resonant with modern audiences, it felt like I was seeing it for the very first time!

It’s a mesmerizing, unforgettable experience that redefines what musical theatre can achieve when you don’t follow the same rules as everyone else!

Verdict: This incarnation of Jesus Christ Superstar is nothing short of a theatrical triumph!

Reviewer: Max Eden

Reviewed: 13th September 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Photo: Paul Coltas