Jesus Christ Superstar, the Vatican-blessed rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, has achieved close to immortality. Director Timothy Sheader’s Olivier Award-winning revival, closing in the West End after a record-breaking 3358 performances, continued to enthrall audiences at the Edinburgh Playhouse following a successful international tour. The seven-piece band opens with an iconic overture, with each member rising from the orchestral pit to the scaffolded set. Shem Omari James delivers a stellar rendition of “Heaven on their Minds” as Judas, setting the stage for the epic story of the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, played by Ian McIntosh.
McIntosh is supported by a versatile and talented ensemble, seamlessly blending Drew McOnie’s unique choreography with solid vocals. Standout performances include Jed Habachi’s impressive range as Caiphas and Hannah Richardson’s captivating solo as Mary in “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”. The prop and set design cleverly incorporates handheld microphones doubling as sceptres and a noose at one point, along with industrial lighting and instrument case steps, capturing the feeling of being backstage at a concert.
Costume designer Poppy Hall and makeup supervisor Giuseppe Cannas embrace the musical’s fifty-year history, regressing from modern utilitarian costume to glitter, glam rock, and disco-inspired outfits as the show reaches its dark and tragic end.