COLCHESTER OPERATIC SOCIETY
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Directed and Choreographed by Dani Fincham
Musical Director Neil Somerville
Performed at the Mercury Theatre 22nd October 2011
I had been looking forward to this production with great anticipation and my expectations were matched totally in a superb production.
From the opening Overture which set the mood for the performance leading into the opening number the standard was maintained until the final moving Crucifixion scene.
Both Dani & Neil must have worked tirelessly to achieve this, and with a talented cast working as a whole the audience was swept along in the events during the last seven days of Jesus life.
Jesus played so well by Tom Stapleton was both strong yet vulnerable and his terrific voice completed his portrayal of the centre and core of the show.
Tom’s interpretation was so moving and so deep it was truly amazing.
Judas played by Shane King got really behind the character of a man who was once a follower and disciple of Jesus, but conflict led him to betray Jesus. With a stunning range of voice Shane gave us a strong man brought to a broken one by his drastic actions.This was one of the most demanding parts both vocally and dramatically I have seen Shane play and was excellent.
Leanne Fincham playing Mary Magdalen in a gentle sympathetic style was just right and very moving, and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”beautifully sung.
John Davies as Pilate looked absolutely the part and as always John’s voice was exceptionally good. The interaction with Jesus was well placed and effective.
Rikki Hammond as Caiaphas and Ben Adams as Annas gave contrasting styles to their characters which was confident and convincing.
Caiaphas quietly menacing with his super deep, deep voice and Annas really direct and strong in his demands to Judas.
Nathan Crane as Peter and David Rutter as Simon completed the disciples and added great voices and sound.
The last main character with his performance of the very extrovert Herod, played by Jonathan Davis, sold this part as light relief with great style and with “Herods Girls” all tapping away was a joy to watch.
Every show needs a supportive chorus and as such I would commend Neil’s terrific work with the singing from everyone both on and off stage. The sound was both joyous but equally poignant almost ethereal at times, and the balance of voices in harmonies spot on.
A mainly basic set was used throughout but was so effective due to the lighting effects together with excellent costumes.
The flogging of Jesus was very real and very painful to watch and the ultimate spectacular Crucifixion Scene I believe brought many of the audience to tears so powerful was the effect of the scene. I felt it so moving and got so involved in the production it did not feel right to applaud at that point .I am sure many people felt this connection as well judging by the reaction around me.
As ( in the words from the show) it ”exceeded expectations. Thank you so much Dani for a memorable production worthy of all the praise in this report.
And thank you also Neil, a terrific achievement musically working with great voices and a very supportive band creating some exciting sounds.
Many thanks as always to the Committee for the hospitality which is much appreciated.