‘Jesus Christ Superstar’: the timeless musical

Jesus Christ Superstar‘ has a history of controversy. Based on the last seven days of the life of Jesus, this rock musical presents its own interpretation of the Biblical narratives. Cloc Musical Theatre has created its own take on the story, exploring history and humanity, fear mongering, and the power of political and religious authorities. The relationships between the central characters are examined throughout the show.

Some Christians consider it to be blasphemous and find Judas’ criticisms of Jesus offensive. It has also been accused of being anti-Semitic, as many of the villains are Jewish. Numerous productions have evolved the story since it opened in 1971 on Broadway, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice.

Biblical knowledge and Roman history are not my strong points. At times I struggled to follow the intricacies of the plot, although I did find Act Two easier to follow. I would suggest purchasing a programme or doing a little research if you need a little refreshing. Please be aware this production is sung in its entirety, with no spoken dialogue. Once you get used to this style, you almost don’t notice.

There are plenty of scenes of brutality and debauchery and I would not class this as a family show, although there were quite a few families in the audience. The three children cast to represent Jesus, Judas, and Mary were in my opinion unnecessary to the production and I am unclear of what metaphorical significance they are supposed to have, if any.

The range of some of the singers was outstanding. The staging was superb and I really liked the usage of the candles, which made for some moving scenes. Jesus is presented as very human, with the same vulnerabilities as the average person. The crucifixion scene is confronting, despite its inevitability.

Most of the cast are amateur performers and CLOC is a non-for-profit community theatre company which brings affordable theatre to wide audiences. This is not at the cost of quality, with the result being a highly professional production.

If you enjoy musical theatre, appreciate a fresh approach, and want to support community theatre, this is the show for you.

– Rachel
Celebrating four years living in Melbourne, Rachel is a fan of theatre, food, the outdoors and all things new and exciting.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ runs 16–22 October 2016 at the National Theatre (20 Carlisle Street, St Kilda). Purchase tickets now.
The venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Cloc Musical Theatre.
Image credit: Cloc Musical Theatre.