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Gospel rock musical meets modern world ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment...

October 12, 2013

YellowBrix

Gospel rock musical meets modern world ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene, with Entertainment Editor Simon Wilson Follow @EG_NottinghamJesus Christ Superstar Capital FM Arena Tanya Raybould

IF Jesus were among us today what would he be doing? Getting likes on Facebook? Spreading the gospel via Twitter, maybe? He probably wouldn't be surprised to see that he was being portrayed by a reality show TV star and Mary Magdalene was being by an ex-Spice Girl.

This is the second time around for the Jesus Christ Superstar musical on an arena stage and it's nothing short of thrilling.

It started life as a best-selling album, written by two 21-year- olds who had yet to make an impact on the entertainment world.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical first hit the stage in the US over 40 years ago but director Laurence Connor's version is very different, brought bang up to date, while retaining its rock origins.

It's the story of the last days of Jesus and explores the nature of power, fame and following, highlighting political and personal struggles. And has been reinterpreted into a moving, and at times unsettling, analysis of the world today: a vulgar gameshow text vote is used to decide if Jesus is Lord or Fraud.

Tim Minchin, as Judas, is possibly the real star of the show, looking every inch the rock star and with an astonishing voice to match.

His portrayal is both menacing but compassionate.

The comedic portrayal of King Herod by Chris Moyles more than justifies what, on the surface, seemed like an odd casting.

Winner of ITV's Superstar, Ben Forster, fresh from his recent appearance in Nottingham in The Rocky Horror Show, returns in the lead role, which he plays magnificently, both visually and vocally, with a skilful falsetto that prompted a standing ovation.

Mel C, unrecognisable as a rasta-haired, street-wise Mary Magdalene, delivers two of the best known and most powerful songs from the show - I Don't Know How To Love Him and Everything's Alright, proving her talents and vocal range extend far beyond Sporty Spice To say this is a 42-year-old musical, the songs still feel fresh and poignant in 2013.

It's loud, it's edgy, visually arresting and powerful.

Rock-gig-meets-theatre could just be the future.

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