2019 Jesus Christ Super Star

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Tim Rice

Here are a selection of photos from the show, thanks to our photographer Andy Carter from "Photos with Style" for taking photos at the dress rehearsal and to Charlotte Thompson and Paul Featherstone for the Promotional and Rehearsal photos.

Autumn 2019

At once shocking yet respectful and unforgettable, Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of biblical Jesus in his final week on Earth. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1970, the musical has no spoken dialogue and is sometimes considered a modern rock-opera. The musical started as a concept album before its Broadway début in 1971.

Loosely based on the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Superstar focuses on the personal conflicts between Jesus, his disciples (called apostles in the show), the people of Israel, and the leadership of Rome. Special attention is played to the relationship between Judas Iscariot, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The story covers the last week of Jesus’s life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his apostles in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. This week has had a tremendous effect on humankind. This rather small group of disciples, under the leadership of Jesus, actually managed to change the course of history. It’s a story with universal appeal, with a sense of humanity that is endlessly surprising and moving.

The musical is unique among biblical retellings in that it focuses on both Judas’s struggle making the decision to betray Jesus and Jesus’s human psychology, fear, and anger in understanding and accepting his role as both leader and martyr. The show is a product of its era, permeated with 1970’s rock, gospel, folk and funk themes, language and colloquialisms of the time, and high-energy dance numbers.


Jesus of Nazareth - Matthew Landells
Judas Iscariot - Ben Essenhigh
Mary Magdalene - Charlie Qureshi
Pontius Pilate - James Turnbull
King Herod - Damien de Roche
Caiaphas - Nic Ash
Annas - Max Marchesi
Simon Zealotes - Toby James
Peter - Rick Qureshi
Priests - Damien de Roche, Anthony Black

Dil Patel, Mike Ellis, Paul Featherstone, Simon Rothwell, Dalton Leong, Alan Wilkins, Paul Hyde, Peter Barnett, Tyrone Haywood

Apostles Wives
Katz Dent, Karen Wilson, Sandra Zeffman, Helen Pennicard, Caron Ireland, Danielle Kerley, Jill Howlett, Jane Platt, Terry Marsh

Roman Soldiers
Steve Dent, Dan Crego-Bustelo, Alex Churcher, Albert Helg, Anthony Black

Soul Girls
Helen Pennicard, Julie Parker, Jane Platt, Holly Carnegie, Jocelyn Dunne, Charlie Hoddell

Catherine Ash, Emma Walker, Emma Bullock, Holly Artis, Holly Carnegie, Helen Pennicard, Danielle Kerley, Caron Ireland, Jocelyn Dunne, Alex Churcher, Dan Crego-Bustelo, Mike Ellis, Simon Ferrier, Dalton Leong, Tyrone Haywood

Holly Artis, Catherine Ash, Emma Bullock, Anthony Black, Holly Carnegie, Alex Churcher, Dan Crego-Bustelo, Steve Dent, Katz Dent, Annabel Dixon, Jocelyn Dunne, Mike Ellis, Sophie Featherstone, Simon Ferrier, Tyrone Haywood, Albert Helg, Eddie Hinds, Charlie Hoddell, Jill Howlett, Caron Ireland, Danielle Kerley, Dalton Leong, Terry Marsh, Jess McShee, Julie Parker, Helen Pennicard, Jane Platts, Emma Walker, Ruby Wilson, Karen Wilson, Sandra Zeffman


James Fortue

Amy Bryce


Matthew Howes

Jon Fox

I have to say at the outset that Jesus Christ Superstar is not remotely among my favourite shows. I have reviewed it many times and, in truth prior to this visit, had yet to find it especially enjoyable. I find the story over simplified and the music unmemorable, with only a couple of exceptions. However, as I knew that James Fortune was to direct this production, I was in high hopes of finding something special on stage this time. And I was not disappointed, as James totally transformed what hitherto I have found a dreary show into a magical evening of theatre. James is, of course, both literally and metaphorically a stage magician almost without peer. Consequently, I now look forward to seeing this show the next time I am asked to do so.

A thoughtfully designed set, on several levels made for an excellent opening. Judas Iscariot valiantly sang “Heaven on their minds”, but a technical sound mishap – so I was later informed – meant that the music was too loud and almost drowned him. It transpired that this was rectified by the following night, thankfully.

Energy, pace and theatrical atmosphere and tension was present for the whole production and the singing was of a high order in general, with several principals having top quality voices.

There was imaginative and most effective use of lighting with various different colours being freely used to enhance the whole. Credit is due to lighting designer Simon Banks, operator Dominic Lawrence and the four follow spot operators. Stuart Vaughan did really well on sound, the aforementioned comment apart.

The very fine costumes were totally realistic – Mary Magdalene rescued from crown stoning by Jesus – being resplendent in scarlet! No other colour would have worked so well. Elizabeth Callow did her usual excellent job with the costumes - co-ordinating, sourcing and making.

The key principal players all had fine singing voices. Charlie Qureshi as Mary Magdalene oozed class with the best song of all, hauntingly delivered too, as she sang “I don’t know how to love him” Matthew Landells was perfectly cast in the title role of Jesus of Nazareth, giving a convincing and moving portrayal as his grisly crucifixion came nearer and nearer. The death scene was a triumph of staging and I would applaud SM Sarah Wood for the whole way in which this show was handled and sets changed. Richard Pike as DSM ably assisted.

Ben Essenhigh played Judas Iscariot skilfully and got really inside this historically devious and weak disciple. James Turnbull brought individual character to Pontius Pilate and I really liked the entrance of the mesmeric Damien de Roche as King Herod. Damien is one of those rare actors when you can rely upon to elevate any show he is in. And he certainly did so in this production.

Other strong performances were given by Nic Ash as Caiaphas, Max Marchesi as Annas, Toby James as Simon Zealotes, Rick Qureshi as Peter – who played this key role to the hilt – and in fact by all the apostles. The last supper scene was beautifully staged and the way the entire cast was used was a triumph of directing and for the movement director Matthew Howes, who played an important part in this riveting production.

Make up by Zoe Warner and Kirsten Massingham was appropriate and effective.

I have left the excellent band under the assured command of musical director Amy Bryce, to the end. There was a vibrancy, occasionally too loud, but overall a stunning effect and thanks to all the above talented and dedicated people, plus a numerous and well drilled chorus, this show has now gained another, even if somewhat older than most, fan!

Take another deserved bow ELOC!