Jesus Christ Superstar - Nottingham Capital FM Arena
BEN Forster — the man who won the role of Jesus in the ITV1 talent show Superstar — was simply brilliant in the title role of the new arena tour of the musical.
But superstar of my night was, without doubt, Tim Minchin, who blew the crowd at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena away with his portrayal of the ultimate betrayer Judas Iscariot.
The songs in the 70s musical — penned by a then 21-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, 26 — are all fast and furious and require vocal dexterity, found in abundance within this cast.
Musical comedian Minchin navigated the part with an easy passion — his anger, vocal range and stage presence keeping the packed audience on the edges of their seats.
His hanging after his betrayal of Jesus was utterly bewitching, and frighteningly convincing.
Forster slotted into the Jesus role with ease, almost quietly in the first half, but reaching superb heights in the second.
I’d followed the Superstar audition journey on TV and had never realised quite how strong and powerful his voice was, even on the highest of notes.
The female half of the audience loved him, and his humble bow and double thumbs-up at the end showed how much he appreciated the opportunity.
Mel C shone in the role of Mary Magdalene, proving that while she may not be the most famous or high-profile Spice Girl she is very clearly the most talented.
Former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles proved his popularity as King Herod. He appeared only in the second half, sang-spoke one song and got a standing ovation.
His sentencing to death of Jesus parodied an X Factor-style show where viewers were urged to pick up the phone or Tweet. Very current.
Also very current was the nod to the anti-capitalist protestors camping out outside St Paul’s Cathedral and the summer riots, making the arena tour version relevant Another supporting role worthy of a mention is that of Pontius Pilate, played by Alex Hanson, adding a very theatrical touch to this rock opera.
And rock opera it is. Don’t expect anything but loud, because that is what you’ll get, but clever and thrilling to boot.
It’s had some poor reviews (mainly from heavyweight nationals who appear to like giving Lord Lloyd Webber a drubbing) but it’s also had some spectacular ones.
Go and see it if you get the chance and make your own mind up.