Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA
Her Majesty’s Theatre
Until 06 Nov 2010

Review by Maggie Wood

David Lampard and his team have taken “Jesus Christ, Superstar” and restored it to what it should be.

It’s been treated by local companies for some years as a musical, but it’s not, it’s a rock opera and theabsolute treat of having rock voices sing the three main principal roles was a balm to the ears. MusicDirector is Ross Curtis.

The set, designed by Lampard, is reminiscent of the urban ghetto, while the highly stylised costumesmake clever demarcations between the different strata of society. There does seem to be a sci-fiinfluence on costuming in some cases, but it’s pointless trying to analyse the reasoning when you’reconstantly captivated by the show. And that’s the key to this production.

There are no wasted moments, no spare space. Every moment has something important happening, andLampard has wrung the very best performances from both his professional principals and largelyamateur ensemble.

Set changes are seamless – practically invisible – and this means that great kudos should also go toStage Manager, Amanda Rowe, ASM Greg Donhart and their crew.

And so to the performances – where does one start at a delectable buffet?

Danny Lopresto as Judas has a voice that will exfoliate your ears in the most delicious ways. Hisportrayal of Judas, ranging from the concerned, to the desperate, to the sobbingly regretful, is alwayshonest, always true. His voice caters easily to the demands of the role, and he imbues Judas with aredemptive humanity, despite his actions.

Sarah Lloyde is an exquisite Mary Magdalen who carries the dual qualities of vulnerability andbrassiness. Her hero-worship love for Jesus explores the confusion of someone who has no problem withsexuality, but this engagement of the heart and mind is quite something else.

Luke Kennedy as Jesus is deceptive. On first glance, one wonders how he could possibly carry the roleoff, and then he begins to sing and all qualms are settled. His tortuous hours in the Garden ofGethsemane are portrayed so skilfully that a stunned audience had some seconds of silence when themusic finished before bursting into wild applause.

Joel Valenti took his place amongst the top performers with a stunning vocal as Pilate, alongside KentGreen’s cheeky Herod – a particularly well-balanced and imaginative scene that saw us still hating Herodwhile laughing all the way.

This production of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” will be spoken about for some time to come in SA theatrecircles. In some ways it will be seen as the definitive production and benchmark of what can be achievedlocally, and it will have given our local performers and technicians an inkling of what they can produce.For having pushed those boundaries it deserves respect. For the sheer magic of the show, it demandsyour attendance.