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Jesus Christ Superstar


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#901 paplazaroo

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 08:39 PM

Everyone seems to have loved the Herod reality show pastiche. Is it just me who thinks it's a bit rich to supposedly condemn materialism and greed, then lampoon our obsession with reality tv when you're charging a fortune in an over large venue to maximise profit and casting the lead in a reality show? Maybe I'm over thinking it.

#902 sambda

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:40 AM

A few ramblings from my visit to see it..

-------------------------

Well, I'm back from seeing JCS.

A few quick notes... (speed-written, so you'll have to forgive the mistakes).

The biggest problem with the whole show is that it comes across more as a collection of set-pieces rather than being a continuous, single story (this impression wasn't helped by the audience clapping after each number like this was a pop concert). It seems to all be some sort of clever concept piece but I'm not clear what the concept was actually supposed to be! Jesus brought up to date (or in the future?) - yeah - but then why was Pilate a businessman(?) with, apparently, contol over the life and death of Jesus (portrayed as a sort of hippy)? What were the Jewish priests (Caiaphas and Annas) now supposed to be? Why was Jesus sent off to a bloke (Herod) who presents a TV show? The roman soldiers seemed to be Muslim radicals... Ahh the confusion!

All the performances were good or better - I saw no technical difficiences whatsover. I didn't like the way certain characters were handled but that isn't a comment on the technical ability of the singer/s. As I said, Pilate is portrayed as a big businessman of some sort - actually rather a normal chap, to be honest. This is nowhere near as good the idea in the 1973 film of having him as a neurotic, superstitious, slightly poofy narcissist, and these changes completely ruin the point of at least one song ("Pilate's Dream"). And, to be honest, Pilate is the biggest let-down in the entire show - a dead loss, in fact. I also thought Annas (s.i.c. to Caiaphas) was better done in the film too.

I was about the closest person to the stage, so I could easily scrutinise the actual actors (right down to that rather nice girl in the chorus with the bog-brush hairdo). However, anybody from about half-way back in the O2 arena wouldn't have a chance of seeing anything, so would have had to watch the big screen at the back of the stage. Those up in the top tiers (called "Level 4" at the O2 for some reason) probably would have struggled to even see the screen particularly well. The smaller venues (once the show is outside London) will probably help with this.

The crucifixion scene was done well, with Ben Forster hoisted high up into the rafters of the arena (looked bloody dangerous to me, but I am sure it wasn't!) Also effective was Judas's (Tim Minchin's) suicide scene. The tree from which he hangs himself is a real prop, but it is integrated into a forest of "virtual" trees by being silhouetted against the big screen. The production should have tried that approach more often as it "opens up" the confines of the stage to good effect.

Best-handled songs? No prizes for "Gethsemane" - excellently done by Ben Forster. Second favourite for me (most will probably disagree) was "This Jesus Must Die", in which Capiphas, Annas and the other Jewish priests debate what to do about JC; the singers involved in this seem to have more operatic-style voices, rather than the pop/rock voices of the other players; and for a moment we're back in a continuing narrative rather than a succession of pop singers doing stand-alone songs.

In turns of the loudness of applause that Ms Chisholm recieved, which some people seem to want to know - just normal level for "Everything's Alright" and "Could We Start Again Please?" but much louder for "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Those are her three big songs, but she does the odd line or two of a few others. In fact, I think "Could..." has been modified from that in the film to give her more to sing.

At the curtain call at the end of things, Chris Moyles (as Herod) got, by far, the biggest cheer, followed by Minchen and Forster. Mel's cheer was about average. And, yes, her anachronistic cross tattoo was left uncovered - whether that was supposed to weave itself into the (deep breath) C-o-n-c-e-p-t of the whole presentation I couldn't be arsed to think about, to be honest.

Some reviewers of earlier performances have commented that they noted many audience members left during the interval, never to return. That most certainly didn't happen at the performance I attended (Sunday 23rd), so either this production is considerably more polished on this, its 4th performance, or somebody was telling porkies before.

None of the production problems mentioned from the earlier performances were evident. The sound was absolutely perfect - every word audible and the vocal-to-backing mix spot on. I was deafened by the live drummer (all the instruments were played live with little or no backing track that I could hear) but that's because I was sitting so close to him and he didn't have his perspex sound deadener completely surrounding his kit!

I did say "no" production problems, but if I am being picky, the honky-tonk piano break in "Herod's Song" was inaudible for the first few bars. One of the pyros on the stage also failed to go off, but was lit instead by one of the chorus using a lighter (presumably a back-up measure) to laughs from the technical area (which I was right behind).

All in all, well worth a look. Maybe I was lucky, but I saw very few of the deficiences on the night I attended that other reviews have mentioned.

#903 freckles

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:56 AM

View Postsambda, on 24 September 2012 - 12:40 AM, said:

A few ramblings from my visit to see it..

-------------------------



The biggest problem with the whole show is that it comes across more as a collection of set-pieces rather than being a continuous, single story (this impression wasn't helped by the audience clapping after each number like this was a pop concert).

Surely that is usual in a musical...?

View Postsambda, on 24 September 2012 - 12:40 AM, said:

Some reviewers of earlier performances have commented that they noted many audience members left during the interval, never to return.

I expect they were still in the queue for the bar/ladies!

#904 Reich

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:30 AM

View Postpaplazaroo, on 23 September 2012 - 08:39 PM, said:

Everyone seems to have loved the Herod reality show pastiche. Is it just me who thinks it's a bit rich to supposedly condemn materialism and greed, then lampoon our obsession with reality tv when you're charging a fortune in an over large venue to maximise profit and casting the lead in a reality show? Maybe I'm over thinking it.

it prodived some much needed humour while lampooning the casting of the lead actor ...

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#905 Distant_Cousin

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:37 AM

View PostReich, on 22 September 2012 - 09:12 AM, said:

Tickets are now papered like the discounts at a DFS sale ... I'm going this afternoon

"papered"?

#906 *Beatrice*

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:50 AM

View Postsambda, on 24 September 2012 - 12:40 AM, said:

A few ramblings from my visit to see it..

-------------------------

Well, I'm back from seeing JCS.

A few quick notes... (speed-written, so you'll have to forgive the mistakes).

The biggest problem with the whole show is that it comes across more as a collection of set-pieces rather than being a continuous, single story (this impression wasn't helped by the audience clapping after each number like this was a pop concert). It seems to all be some sort of clever concept piece but I'm not clear what the concept was actually supposed to be! Jesus brought up to date (or in the future?) - yeah - but then why was Pilate a businessman(?) with, apparently, contol over the life and death of Jesus (portrayed as a sort of hippy)? What were the Jewish priests (Caiaphas and Annas) now supposed to be? Why was Jesus sent off to a bloke (Herod) who presents a TV show? The roman soldiers seemed to be Muslim radicals... Ahh the confusion!

All the performances were good or better - I saw no technical difficiences whatsover. I didn't like the way certain characters were handled but that isn't a comment on the technical ability of the singer/s. As I said, Pilate is portrayed as a big businessman of some sort - actually rather a normal chap, to be honest. This is nowhere near as good the idea in the 1973 film of having him as a neurotic, superstitious, slightly poofy narcissist, and these changes completely ruin the point of at least one song ("Pilate's Dream"). And, to be honest, Pilate is the biggest let-down in the entire show - a dead loss, in fact. I also thought Annas (s.i.c. to Caiaphas) was better done in the film too.

I was about the closest person to the stage, so I could easily scrutinise the actual actors (right down to that rather nice girl in the chorus with the bog-brush hairdo). However, anybody from about half-way back in the O2 arena wouldn't have a chance of seeing anything, so would have had to watch the big screen at the back of the stage. Those up in the top tiers (called "Level 4" at the O2 for some reason) probably would have struggled to even see the screen particularly well. The smaller venues (once the show is outside London) will probably help with this.

The crucifixion scene was done well, with Ben Forster hoisted high up into the rafters of the arena (looked bloody dangerous to me, but I am sure it wasn't!) Also effective was Judas's (Tim Minchin's) suicide scene. The tree from which he hangs himself is a real prop, but it is integrated into a forest of "virtual" trees by being silhouetted against the big screen. The production should have tried that approach more often as it "opens up" the confines of the stage to good effect.

Best-handled songs? No prizes for "Gethsemane" - excellently done by Ben Forster. Second favourite for me (most will probably disagree) was "This Jesus Must Die", in which Capiphas, Annas and the other Jewish priests debate what to do about JC; the singers involved in this seem to have more operatic-style voices, rather than the pop/rock voices of the other players; and for a moment we're back in a continuing narrative rather than a succession of pop singers doing stand-alone songs.

In turns of the loudness of applause that Ms Chisholm recieved, which some people seem to want to know - just normal level for "Everything's Alright" and "Could We Start Again Please?" but much louder for "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Those are her three big songs, but she does the odd line or two of a few others. In fact, I think "Could..." has been modified from that in the film to give her more to sing.

At the curtain call at the end of things, Chris Moyles (as Herod) got, by far, the biggest cheer, followed by Minchen and Forster. Mel's cheer was about average. And, yes, her anachronistic cross tattoo was left uncovered - whether that was supposed to weave itself into the (deep breath) C-o-n-c-e-p-t of the whole presentation I couldn't be arsed to think about, to be honest.

Some reviewers of earlier performances have commented that they noted many audience members left during the interval, never to return. That most certainly didn't happen at the performance I attended (Sunday 23rd), so either this production is considerably more polished on this, its 4th performance, or somebody was telling porkies before.

None of the production problems mentioned from the earlier performances were evident. The sound was absolutely perfect - every word audible and the vocal-to-backing mix spot on. I was deafened by the live drummer (all the instruments were played live with little or no backing track that I could hear) but that's because I was sitting so close to him and he didn't have his perspex sound deadener completely surrounding his kit!

I did say "no" production problems, but if I am being picky, the honky-tonk piano break in "Herod's Song" was inaudible for the first few bars. One of the pyros on the stage also failed to go off, but was lit instead by one of the chorus using a lighter (presumably a back-up measure) to laughs from the technical area (which I was right behind).

All in all, well worth a look. Maybe I was lucky, but I saw very few of the deficiences on the night I attended that other reviews have mentioned.

A good review and great to see how we all perceive things so differently.

I think Pilate was a barrister. During Pilate's dream his assistant was dressing him for ready court. His robe and wig were on a stand. They were the final clothes he put on. I think we were then meant to realise he would be judge and jury in Jesus's fate. I think the priests represented some form of the establishment - politicians perhaps who were threatened by JC and his movement. Possibly, Herod represented the whole of today's media culture, from the tabloids to reality phone-in TV shows and we all know how judgemental these elements can be for a career.  I'm not saying any of this is the case; it's just my interpretation.

#907 Rooster Byron

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

It thought it was pretty clear that Pilate was a judge / barrister of some sort and the others were MPS for lobbyists, not businessmen.

#908 sambda

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:30 AM

View PostRooster Byron, on 24 September 2012 - 08:57 AM, said:

It thought it was pretty clear that Pilate was a judge / barrister of some sort and the others were MPS for lobbyists, not businessmen.

Now you come to mention it, I do remember his wig being groomed.  I must have been partially destracted at that point!

Of course, updating the visuals of the play, but leaving the original lyrics intact also led to reams of errors.  References to Israel, Galilee, Nazareth, Jerusalem etc. when the thing appeared to be set in the West.  Dates given were thousands of years old, but the look was modern.  Jesus' adversaries were still said to be "Romans" although they didn't appear to be so.

They should have just done it in period costume;  too many ideas going on at once.  The modern-day parallels the thing was trying to draw were not expressed clearly enough, IMO.

#909 zyx123

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:37 AM

View PostDistant_Cousin, on 24 September 2012 - 08:37 AM, said:

"papered"?

'Papering the house' - giving free tickets away to make the theatre look full.

#910 Kathryn2

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:50 AM

View Postsambda, on 24 September 2012 - 12:40 AM, said:



Some reviewers of earlier performances have commented that they noted many audience members left during the interval, never to return. That most certainly didn't happen at the performance I attended (Sunday 23rd), so either this production is considerably more polished on this, its 4th performance, or somebody was telling porkies before.

Or maybe, being as close as you were to the stage, you simply couldn't see if people behind you and in the top levels left during the interval. Most of the reports I read of people leaving said they were up in the nosebleed seats, and couldn't really hear or see well enough to follow what was going on. Having had the same experience at Carmen at the O2 I can well believe it.

Possibly the sound mix was better for the 4th show than the first - the complaints I saw were that the music was basically dorwning out the lyrics, which in a sung-through show is lethal.




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