Jesus Christ Superstar – they are all Superstars!

12 Feb 2013

Jesus Christ Superstar played to packed houses at Theatr Brycheiniog, with the whole school treated to the dress rehearsal for the Friday matinee. The result was a spectacular performance which saw Christ College pupils sharing their talent and skill with a wider audience.

The cast and crew numbered 110 students – a third of the school – which was a considerable achievement. Highlights included the cameo by the 1st XV rugby team who donned dresses and wigs to become Herod’s (rather butch) dancing girls. Oliver Price as Herod provided light relief to what in essence is a story of pain and sadness. Oliver created a dark, more sinister Herod in contrast to the colourful and camp ‘dancing girls’.

Perhaps the plaudits should go to Benj Kriehn who transferred into Jesus Christ. His performance was outstanding – full of emotion and truth and completely convincing. The seminal moment on the cross had many audience members in tears as Benj spoke those immortal words: ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit…..’

Whilst Benj led the cast with such vigour, the story itself was expertly told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, played with such commitment by Sam Maggs. Sam’s performance was strong and gritty and had all the passion that is needed with such a tough role. He acted in a mature way and never lost the intensity needed for Judas.

Whilst the production is slightly lacking in leading female roles – Issy Bridgeman (Fri) and Sophie Rudge (Sat) conveyed the turmoil felt by Mary Magdalene. This was particularly clear in both girl’s performance of ‘I don’t know how to love him’ which was beautifully conveyed and with a truth that can often be missing from the performance of such a well known song.

There are others too who deserve a mention. Doug Evans’ portrayal of Pontius Pilate was superb – powerful and with such subtlety – felt particularly in his performance of ‘Pilate’s dream’ where you could hear a pin drop. Paul Pascal-Jones and Elis Barnett-Smith as Caiaphas and Annas held the correct amount of stage presence and danger as they started their plan to stop Jesus Christ in his tracks. This was clear in their strong delivery of ‘This Jesus Must Die’ with the two priests to support.

The women and male apostles provided consistent support to the leads – both were important components of the story and the production wouldn’t have been the same without their presence. The same could be said of the supporting chorus who provided solo lines as well as helping to convey the ‘mob’ mentality that ultimately led to Jesus Christ’s downfall.

Head of Drama and Director John Johnson was delighted with the final performance: ‘The atmosphere back stage has been wonderful, very positive and the students have really given their all on stage. I am immensely proud of their professionalism, especially the leads who were brilliant. It gives us a strong platform to build from for next year’s Senior Production in the new theatre. It’s an exciting time for the Creative Arts Faculty at Christ College.’