Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Worship Players Jesus Christ Superstar

Jerome de Silva’s Jesus Christ Superstar sold out twelve shows in a few days. With a cast like he managed to bring together added to the fame of Tim Rice’s lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music, this was really not a surprise.

The show was the work of amateurs and carried with it some of the so-so quality of such productions. But considering the reputation and expectation there was to live up to, it did surprisingly well, even on a mid-run night.

As happens too often, it feels, there was a lot of obvious use of technology involved in the production.  And if it’s obvious, then there is something wrong. The opening scenes had carefully orchestrated lighting schemes that were quite stunning, except that they were not well timed with the sound-track. But as Jesus breathed his last and the skies broke open, the lights worked well to create an awe-inspiring effect that forced some of the audience back against their seats.

There was a very differently awesome moment in the simple sparkle in ‘Could We Start Again Please’. It was poignant and sincere, and for the first time in a long time I had goose bumps on my arms as Gehan Blok walked on as Judas, to accompany Kavitha Gunesekera’s Mary Magdalene for the last few notes.

Blok has become a familiar name and face on stage, but the fact that his lungs were matched with equally capable vocal cords was probably not well known until now. He sang Judas with strength and good tone, often overshadowing Chrisantha CC de Silva’s performance of Jesus. This was definitely not CC’s best night, and he did not live up to the acting skills required of the star of the show. His voice, nevertheless, came out mellower and better controlled than one usually hears from him in the music scene.

Mario De Soyza playing Pilate and Dominic Kellar playing Herod were probably the most mature performances of the night, Pilate especially being very subtly controlled. Herod was only as funny as he was expected to be, but fortunately or unfortunately, Pusswedilla will haunt Kellar wherever he goes. For Jerome de Silva and his Jesus Christ Superstar though, a Pusswedilla-Herod sure worked.

As far as musicals go, Colombo saw something wonderful through the run of the show. Jerome De Silva’s passion for meaningful and well-produced theatre drew many tears over the ten days, and we congratulate the cast and crew on creating an unforgettable experience. Colombo, one can be sure, unanimously looks forward to more!

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