So yesterday I hopped on a train over to Sittingbourne, Kent. It’s a tiny town with not a whole lot going on, but JC Superstar isn’t showing in London so I thought I would take the opportunity to see it while I can. Plus I wanted to get out of London for a bit and the train and theater tickets combined didn’t add up to what I pay to see most shows in the West End. Unfortunately either all the cheap tickets sell out way in advance or they are so insufficient you wouldn’t be able to see anything. But that’s not at all to do with this story. I could see fairly well for this one (in a tiny 88 seat theater).
As glad as I am to have been able to see the show, this particular performance certainly left something to be desired. Really I go about what I thought I would. Some fairly talented actors, decent staging, sound and lighting, from an (extremely) amateur group. Surprising as it may be Mary was the real shining star of this performance though Judus does follow a close second. Really I would love and hope to see Mary on stage with a proper company and theater (and a more matured voice). Her voice was amazing and she was on pitch the great majority of the time. Others had a much more difficult time with the concept. Jesus in particular was not necessarily a bad casting but in reality his voice simply doesn’t fit the part. JC has some decent tenor pieces that the guy had trouble handling despite his true effort. He seemed to allow the rest of the cast to carry him when he should have been the bright talent in the forefront even as they were straight acting. Some of this was certainly affected by the stage itself – which was small and not suited to a large scale musical as this should be. Judas as a character I loved, the voice was quite good, however, the actor had trouble with the real emotional parts. But considering that age certainly is a factor (the whole play would have been more convincing with an older cast.),I think he did a good job of compelling the audience with the role. As for the rest of the cast. Some were decent singers, dancers, and actors but really needed to learn to project their voices. Even in a small theater this can be a problem when not everyone (or anyone) is mic-ed. Mostly the performance could benefit from more practice. I think it was still rough around the edges (not being on pitch, spotlight not on cue, dancers not always in synch) and a lot of that could have been smoothed out with more practice – which of course is sometimes simply not possible. Oh and not dressing the roman council like vampires would help. That can really throw a person off (I know they were going for evil cult, but they got much closer to Dracula).
Pictures: the town, something you don’t see often here – a baptist church, and the very tiny theater.