Jesus Christ Superstar Review by Lynn Carroll

July 10, 2024

Right off the bat I will admit that I don’t know where to begin with this one. So, I am going to let the keyboard take over and hopefully turn my muddled thoughts into coherent sentences.

Have I lived under a rock and on another planet with regard to this musical? I must have because I thought I had stumbled in to the wrong show as it opened. Of course I have heard of Jesus Christ Superstar, who hasn’t? I even know two of the songs, the title one and ‘I don’t know how to love him’. But apart from that I only knew that it was a Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber (he wasn’t a Sir then), collaboration.

Throughout the show I was worried and anxious about how I could possibly write this review so, the moment I stepped inside my front door I went straight to good old YouTube in order to at least say I had done my due diligence. I found plenty of film clips (I didn’t even know it had been committed to film), a few stills and even the odd post about various productions. Feeling disheartened I tried good old Google too. Here I had a little more success and found out what I hadn’t known prior to watching the show; it was a rock opera. I should have known, shouldn’t I? It opened on Broadway 12th July 1971, hurrah I knew it was the early 70s so I felt a little better.

However, being it was over 50 years old I was even more surprised because in everything I read one word kept cropping up.....contemporary.

And there it was, the answer to my puzzle as to why nearly all these young actors were wearing T-shirts, hoodies and baggy pants, nothing like the Roman era mode of dress. Something clicked and everything fell into place. This musical had never been a true representation but a late hippy era endeavour of Tim and Andy bringing something new and different to the stage, and later screen. They were age 26 and 23 respectively in 1971 and I am guessing it was some time in development making them even younger when the idea took hold, and a very brave one at that, considering it may have offended the sensibilities of some.

Yes, you are right, I am prevaricating as I do not want to commit to paper my true feelings; that it isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like anything that messes about with time just as I did not want to watch the modern Coriolanus or Romeo and Juliet.

But, and it is a very big but, I like to think I am fair of mind and do not allow my own prejudices to undermine the quality of any show that is not to my particular taste. I may be a minority of one but 50+ years of success must mean it is a brilliant show. I could see that, of course I could. The actors put their heart and soul into their performances and by the second half I was able to forget the guitars, modern clothing and strange dances which were reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video. But I could not get over Jesus with a short back and sides! I felt more than embarrassed when the thunderous applause gave more proof of how everyone else absolutely loved the show, including my guest, who was a fair bit younger than me.

Catch it while you can, but it will probably be around for another 50 years and I suspect it will garner many, many more fans.


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