|The Production Company|
The current presentation from The Production Company, in limited season, at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne.
If you need a precis of the plot then you haven't been paying attention.
It has been probably been 40 years since I last saw this musical on stage. Revisiting the work properly after such a long break really had me thinking about it. For a Superstar, the Jesus character gets a pretty raw deal.
Judas has most of the best songs and moments. He opens the musical with a big number, closes the musical with a big number and has the last big moment to close Act 1. By comparison Jesus has one big solo musical moment only when mid stream in Act 2 he questions God; 'why must I die?'. Rob Mills (Jesus) handles that moment well earning strong applause. But Zoy Frangos (Judas), an unknown (to me), has the best gig and he makes the most of it. Should the musical be called 'Judas Isacariot, Super-villain'?
Jesus doesn't even have the second best of it. Arguably, Mary Magadelene, Pontius Pilate and King Herod all have better scenes. All three are strongly represented in this staging.
I wonder if Lloyd Webber and Rice had created this musical later in their careers rather than earlier, might Jesus have a got a better deal musically?
As usual, The Production Company has delivered a strong, ensemble performance. The future of Australian musical theatre remains strong with young artists like those we see in their productions.