Jesus Christ Superstar comes to Birmingham

A DJ, a Spice Girl, comedian and talent show winner – combine them and you have the star cast for a musical of biblical proportions.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar played to a sell-out crowd at the NIA Arena last night. The 1970s hippies and flares have been replaced with a 21st century adaptation which simply works. 

A stage of stairs is the basis for the cast of street kids donning parkas and dreadlocks, with props of pop-up tents and stunning gymnastics. 

Last year’s TV talent show Superstar saw the voting public choose vocal genius Ben Forster for the role of Jesus, and he is superb. All the angst shines through, the falsetto and unfathomably long-held notes in the solo Gethsemane are breathtaking, having the audience on its feet for the umpteenth time.  

Singer/comedian Tim Minchin portrays a convincing Judas Iscariot and doesn’t disappoint in his scruffy dreadlocked role as the betrayer. Spice Girl Mel C is superb as Mary Magdalene, and her solo I Don’t Know How To Love Him won the ecstatic applause of the whole arena. 

But the all too brief appearance of former Radio One DJ, the super slim Chris Moyles as a camp Herod was the big crowd pleaser. 

The whole show is flawless, exhilarating, humorous and tragic. Unmissable. 

By Debbie Bennett

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