Jesus Christ Superstar has been the definitive rock musical ever since its 1972 London stage premiere. Revived to great acclaim in the late 1990s, it has everything you'd expect from a blockbuster: great songs, strong characterisation and, crucially, a cracking story. This video is based on the 1998 London production. Director Gale Edwards pulls few punches in her efforts to draw a truly modern interpretation from a gifted cast. Pilate's cronies are sinister Darth Vader look-alikes. The whole thing has a hard, brutal edge, which both startles and thrills. And anyone... who dismisses musicals as lightweight confections could do worse than look at the way Lloyd Webber and Rice treat Judas: this is a complex, well-written role. The performances are largely excellent: Jerome Pradon' Judas shines, and Renee Castle's Mary reinvents "I Don't Know How to Love Him" as a delicate exploration of her dilemma, far removed from its usual overblown treatment. Rik Mayall's relentlessly gurning Herod is less of a bonus than he would like us to believe, but will doubtless appeal to his fans. And the quality of Glenn Carter's singing in the title role makes up for a slight deficiency in the charisma department. --Piers FordOn the DVD: Die-hard groupies will appreciate the inclusion of a documentary about the making of the video, which includes interviews with the cast, the production team and Lloyd Webber and Rice. There are also previews for video productions of Cats and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. [show more]
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