JCS at Stratford

Jesus Christ Superstar Cast

On Thursday, Trevor and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Stratford Festival. I got the tickets because I’d been hearing really good things about the show and the cast- I’m not a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber or of the show itself.

However, I enjoyed myself, which was good! Josh Young, who played Judas, gave a really spectacular performance. I can’t say I was overly wowed by Paul Nolan’s Jesus, but that may be just as much a product of the role as anything. Brent Carver’s Pilate was really memorable, as well as Aaron Walpole as Annas and Bruce Dow’s Herod.

The set design is really well done- There are catwalks around the stage, about 8 feet up or so, and these two metal stair units on casters that are reconfigured like crazy to set various scenes. The only thing I found a bit lacking was the ramp that was brought out in the second act for Jesus to walk up and basically stand over the audience- I didn’t feel it really added anything, and I kept expecting Jesus to actually go somewhere instead of just kinda hang out and hover on the end of it.

The lighting design was pretty phenomenal. The lightbar around the catwalks that gave context through text or designs or what have you was really cool, and the projections on the slotted wall bit that flew in and out were really cool. The colors (and sometimes lack of) in the lighting really worked well with the setting and the costumes- sometimes it felt like Mary Magdelene and Judas were the only color on the stage.

Even with all those good things going for the production, it still didn’t bring me around on the show itself- it still has all those things I don’t like, but in this case, a lot of good stuff still kept me really interested all the way through.

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