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Back in 1967, when the first sods were turned for what was to become Milton Keynes, one of the ‘promises’ made by those, whose job was to attract families into the New City, was that M.K. would have a theatre to rival any in the country. So okay it took them 33 years, and a £19 million lottery fund grant, to honour that promise, but finally we have our theatre. And a very fine theatre it is too. Modern design, with excellent bars, comfortable seating, fantastic acoustics, and technical wizardry, it was the perfect venue to sit back and enjoy The Really Useful Theatre Company production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The story of Jesus Christ’s last seven days on earth, played in modern dress, and set to music. And boy oh boy did I enjoy it. From the first spine tingling bars of the overture Superstar, through to the last curtain call. Written by Tim Rice (lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music). This production of Jesus Christ Superstar was directed by Gale Edwards an award winning Australian, who is now making a name for herself in Britain. The sets, and costumes, although giving a ‘biblical’ feel, kept the play relevant to modern times. As with all Lloyd Webber productions, the cast was strong, and talented. Although as with many ‘stage’ performers, few are ‘household’ names, they all gave a thoroughly professional performance, which earned them a standing ovation from a captivated audience. However four of the cast deserve a special mention, as I thought their performances were quite outstanding. Arvid Larsen, as Jesus. A tall, blond, perfectly proportioned Scandanavian, with a vocal range that defied logic. Deep Bass one second. Soprano the next. Talk about lifting the hairs on the back of the neck. And he played the part with just enough angst to bring tears to the eyes. Melanie Tate.(Under
study to Cat Simmons) Gave an excellent performance as Mary Magdalene. Her rendition of “ I Don’t Know How To Love Him” one of the best I’ve heard. ( And I have heard a great many). Unfortunately I cannot gauge it against Ms Simmons, as she was indisposed on the night. Cade Siemers cast as one of the three priests/guards, whose staring gaze held sufficient menace, to give you nightmares. A really believable villian. Mark O’Malley, for me the ‘star’ of the show. Frankly his voice, and portrayal of Judas Iscariot, left me breathless and definitely wanting MORE!. One of those actors whose ‘presence’ on stage cannot be ignored, even if only standing quietly in the background. A scintillating performer who deserves a wider audience. All in all this production is one of the liveliest, yet most moving Jesus Christ Superstars I’ve seen, and whilst I acknowledge, this musical has been around for decades, and probably only the very young wouldn’t recognize the opening bars of the Superstar overture, if it comes to a theatre near you DON’T miss it. Its brilliant..