Jesus Christ Superstar
Aaaah. It's, of course, a great story and, of course, a fantastic rock opera, one of the best, if not -the- best. And even mediocre performances of this fantastic piece of work can be highly enjoyable.
Having said that, this was a decent above-average performance. The very difficult role of Judas (played by an actor who has also played, of all things, Brad in Rocky) could have been sung a bit better.
It's my opinion that the first half of the musical is a bit better than the second half. However here, the first half felt a bit like a collection of separate songs, less of a whole, while the second half fitted together very nicely, the actors working together more smoothly.
Caiaphas, which his extremely low voice and the scenes with the philistines were truly fantastic, with all of them in long slender white robes and the less important figures wearing Venetian-style masks.
On a few occasions, scenes referred to the current situation in the Middle East, with police in riot gear dispersing the crowds and a market of bombs, guns and illegal DVDs in the temple. However, I'm not really sure this was a serious comment or just a 'fun' reference to current politics. Nevertheless, the scene at the temple, moving from the 'den of thieves' to the lepers and blind asking for healing was extremely well done.
Although most if not all actors were South African, the cast only consisted of three black actors/singers, one of which was Maria Magdalena, who had a voice you could break glass with.
The stage, in Pieter Toerien's theatre in Montecasino, which looks like an art house cinema built in the 1920s but was only put up a few years ago, is a bit small to accommodate a show of these proportions, but somehow, the crowded stage added to the feel of impeding doom that runs through the story.
The final scene is great. Jesus is nailed to a fiberglass or plastic cross. The cross is on the floor at first but is slowly erected and moved right up to the front of the stage, ending up only some two meters away from where we sat, right on the first row. Impressive. During the whole last scene, Jesus continuously 'strikes' poses taken from famous paintings or statues.