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Jesus Christ Superstar - MK Theatre Review with Steven Gordon-Wilson, our Arts & Culture Columnist

It always makes me nervous when a new production of an absolute classic is announced – will it do justice to the score, the book, and the history of the show? JCS has in the past suffered from some questionable imaginings which made me step into the auditorium last night holding my breath… The good news is, and first glance at the innovate stage set, and the first strains of the overture, I knew I was in for a great night…

The production has put the emphasis strongly on the powerful score- originally a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice released back in 1970. The performers cannot be faulted in the quality of their singing of these powerhouse numbers, including the haunting I Don’t Know How to Love Him, the hilariously camp Herod’s Song and the perennial classic Jesus Christ Superstar. The singing was balanced perfectly with interesting new choreography (keep your eyes out for the peculiar yet captivating choreo of Jesus receiving 39 lashes!!) and imposing stage direction.

The danger with any sung-through musical is that the pace needs to be spot on in order for the audience to really connect with the characters – if I were nitpicking, I’d say there were one or two key moments where a few more pauses or breaths would have added value to production…as was highlighted in the beautifully poignant silence at the end of the show when (spoiler alert) the crucifixion brings the curtain down.

It's a non-stop, roller coaster of a production which will go down in JCS lore as one of the best modern productions – true to the original enough for the purists, and innovative enough for and JCS newbies to enjoy. Booking now at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 4th November.

4 Stars

Tickets and info here.

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