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Redditch Operatic Society (ROS)

Redditch Operatic Society (ROS): the area's biggest amateur operatic society and musical theatre group performing at the Palace Theatre in Redditch, Worcestershire

Redditch Operatic Society: musical theatre group performing at the Palace Theatre, Redditch

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Archive for November, 2014

Jesus Christ Superstar: Review 2

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Another fantastic review of our production of Jesus Christ Superstar. This time it’s an independent review from Andrew Powell (ex-editor of The Standard):

Jesus Christ Superstar – Redditch Operatic Society

Moving, colourful, dramatic, disturbing, uncomfortable even, reverent, irreverent, emotional, funny – are all words that could be used to describe Redditch Operatic Society’s excellent production of this Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber masterpiece.

The show is a 1970s rock opera, and is basically an account of the last week in the life of Jesus Christ, beginning with the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion, all set to modern music, and as such must have been out of the comfort zone for many in the society.

But ROS to a man (and woman) rose to the challenge magnificently.

The opera offers a fascinating insight into the political and interpersonal struggles between the extraordinary Jesus and those in the highest authority, and this aspect came across brilliantly.

Director and producer Tony Jay is quoted as saying that Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the greatest pieces of musical theatre ever created, and he certainly did it immense justice – it was slick, yet uncompromisingly daring and different, from the complex staging itself to his own hilarious portrayal of Herod’s Song. It certainly added a lighter moment to the otherwise rather depressing scenario (watch out for that bread roll!).

The experience of David Steele shone through as Jesus, giving him plenty of opportunity to show off his mighty falsetto voice and emotional range, while his close companion Mary, played by newcomer Lisa Lilwall, was most endearing and suitably respectful. Those, as I was, awaiting the tear-jerking I Don’t Know How To Love Him, a highlight of the show, will not have been disappointed.

Let’s not forget Laurence Sutton as the confused and unfortunate Judas. He is also a new member of ROS and it’s good to see risks being taken in casting – and paying off handsomely – with the younger members. He had a voice that filled the auditorium loud and clear.

One more mention. Tim Eagleton threw himself into the role of the unfortunate, in my mind, Pontius Pilate, who found himself dragged along with the will of the baying crowd, and he portrayed this with precision.

We all know how the story ends, but mine can’t have been the only heart in the mouth as Jesus was lifted onto a rather highly mounted, but substantial, cross of wood and the opera came to its inevitable end – of course the resurrection isn’t included and Jesus was left hanging.

It would not be possible in a review like this to mention everybody involved, especially with such a large cast, but there wasn’t a weak link in the chain for what was a production very much worthy of a larger stage.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Review 1

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A great review of Jesus Christ Superstar from Harriet Ernstsons of the Redditch Standard:

Jesus Christ cast were all superstars

Given this version of Jesus Christ Superstar was brought to the Palace Theatre stage by an operatic society, audiences would expect first-rate singing.

But the performances given by ROS, both individually and as an ensemble, were truly spectacular and made for a particularly enjoyable night.

Everyone knows how the story is going to end and most will be aware of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice production so the challenge is to make a mark by providing stand-out performances. In this way, ROS certainly did not disappoint.

Leading man David Steele sent shivers up the spine with his powerful and emotive performance at more than one point during the night, with his voice more than proving why he was chosen to take the role of Jesus.

However, this was not just a one-man show and his counterpart Laurence Sutton as Judas was captivating every time he set foot on the stage. It is not often you root for the ‘bad guy’ in the show but Laurence brought a softness to the role which enabled the crowd to understand his reasonings for betraying Jesus.

Together the 12 disciples were a complete pleasure to listen to and both Paul Mitchell as Peter and Mark Williams as Simon shone in the roles as Jesus’ right-hand man. They played their roles well, providing the chance for the story to be told by creating a dialogue with Jesus and Judas – with Lisa Lilwall’s Mary added into the mix it was absolutely superb.

However, it was not all weeping over the demise of Christ, there were plenty of light moments in the show too – mainly when the stage was occupied by Tim Eagleton (Pontius Pilate), Matt Turner (Caiaphas) and John Reeves (Annas) backed by Sam Smith, Ryan Allen and Tony Lacey as the priests.

The biggest laugh of the night definitely went to Tony Jay whose portrayal of Herod was just excellent and the perfect antedote to the heavy subject of the script.

Credit must also go to the superb singers and dancers who were ever-present in the backdrop. There is little worse than an amazing principal cast being let down by an out of time or out of tune cast. To have such strong voices in the chorus line is a real credit to ROS and proves it must have been a difficult choice picking lead characters from the wealth of talent on offer.

Lastly, a mention for the most important prop in the show – the cross. If it had been designed badly it could have really let down the production but as it was, it was perfectly put together for the job at hand and provided a powerful way to end the show. The set itself was very simple but it needed to be so the cast could get on with what they do best – singing their hearts out.

NODA - The National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Redditch Operatic Society is affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA)

BEST PROGRAMME 2004

42ND STREET

NOMINATED

BEST MUSICAL 2005

HAPPY AS A SANDBAG

NOMINATED

BEST MUSICAL 2007

JEKYLL & HYDE

WINNER

BEST POSTER 2009

HOT MIKADO

NOMINATED

BEST PROGRAMME 2009

HOT MIKADO

WINNER

BEST PROGRAMME 2010

50 YEARS OF ROS

NOMINATED

BEST PROGRAMME 2011

THE KING AND I

NOMINATED

BEST MUSICAL 2011

THE KING AND I

NOMINATED

BEST PROGRAMME 2012

SUMMER HOLIDAY

WINNER

BEST MUSICAL 2012

SUMMER HOLIDAY

NOMINATED

BEST MUSICAL 2013

WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND

NOMINATED

BEST MUSICAL 2014

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

WINNER

BEST PROGRAMME 2014

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

WINNER

BEST MUSICAL 2016

WITCHES OF EASTWICK

NOMINATED

 

Redditch Operatic Society

ROS - the area's biggest amateur operatic society and musical theatre group performing at the Palace Theatre in Redditch, Worcestershire

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