Manly Musical Society is currently presenting JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1971 rock oratorio. The play covers the last week of Jesus’s life, showing the Passion and the Crucifixion. All of the score’s tonal variations has been brought to new life on the stage, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney for a limited season.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR was a best-selling record album in the 70s, and was London’s longest running musical, running for eight years. Written when Andrew Lloyd Webber was just 21 with lyricist Tim Rice, originally a concept music album, then a USA arena tour, before it went to Broadway and the West End.
Everyone knows the bible story about Jesus, betrayal, prostitutes, hangings, whippings and death by crucifixion. Fully restored to its ballad and heavy metal rock origins, this is a thrilling production with a great ensemble cast, directed by Carl Olsen and produced by Keith Muir.
Thomas Adams as Jesus, is superbly cast and constantly delivers, and in particular the great soliloquy in Gethsemane. Olivia Aleksoski is well cast as Mary Magdalene, street urchin prostitute and Jesus’s best friend.
She expertly delivers her sweetly melancholic numbers, whilst showing her street-wise expertise. The pure vulgarity of King Herod as the game show host, demanding whether Jesus is either a fraud or a lord, is done justice in the over the top performance by Jessica Priebee.
Anthony Swaddling as the traitor Judas, relishes his role and easily moves his character from initial moral prurience to lascivious cynicism and disaffected disciple. William Stavert is outstanding as Pilate.
The intimate space of The Star of the Sea theatre, and the well remembered lyrics, all helped the audience to find a close emotional connection with the triangle between the weary Jesus, the tortured but disaffected soul of Judas, and the never ending yearning of Mary Magdalene. An agonised Jesus on the cross, sings “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Suspend your disbelief, this is an amazing razzle-dazzle musical experience, and is recommended for most audiences.
Manly Musical Society was formed in late 2008 as a not-for-profit organisation on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. The Company is a youth-based community group that provides an opportunity for local up and coming talent.
The remaining performances of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR take place on the 29th May at 7.30pm, 30th May at 7.30pm, and the 31st May at 2pm and 7.30pm.
The Star of the Sea Theatre, Manly is situated on the corner of Collingwood Road & Iluka Avenue, Manly. Website: http://www.manlymusicalsociety.com/