REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar (Adlington Music and Arts Society)

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SCHOOL is back, the chocolate is all gone and the long weekend may feel like a distant memory.

But Easter is still in the air for one theatre company, as Adlington Music and Arts Society perform the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice smash hit Jesus Christ Superstar.

With a large cast, challenging musical score and demanding props, staging this epic-rock opera - which tells the story of Jesus' final days in the run up to his crucifixion - is no mean feat.

Yet this society pulled it off, with a strong combination of stunning vocal talent, intuitive artistic direction and entertaining choreography, thanks to the staging of joint directors and choreographers Diane Simmons and Jackie Doherty.

Jesus is played by the aptly named Christian Brabin, who portrays the King of the Jews as a man very much under siege - not just from the Romans, but also his own followers.

The joyous  triumphant tones at the start of the show quickly become drones of dread, as Jesus comes to terms with his fate, and the sentiment is reflected well in Brabin's expressive acting,

Meanwhile Dan Sheader plays tortured soul Judas with passion and energy, barging forcefully all over the stage to dramatic effect.

And Charlotte Unsworth as Mary Magdalene combines a coquettish tang against a backdrop of unquestioning love for Jesus.

Her rendition of 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' had a few audience members reaching for tissues.

Both male leads coped well with Lloyd Webber's challenging score, tackling this high falsettos with relative ease.

Sadly at times the sound balance between the musicians, who performed equally effortlessly, and all of the cast was mismatched - leaving it hard to decipher some lines of dialogue.

Phillip May's appearance as a camp King Herod, dressed in a glitzy gold sequinned suit, was an audience highlight.

And scenes such as Judas' demise and Christ's crucifixion were brutal, enthralling and very well executed.

A fantastic rendition with a blossoming cast. Catch it while you can.

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