Jesus Christ Superstar on stage in Ripon
The buzz in Ripon is, that after what seems like an eternity, Ripon Amateur Operatic Society have taken to the stage with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
With performances tonight and Saturday there’s still a chance to catch this show at the newly refurbished Ripon Arts Hub.
The story recounts the last days of Jesus Christ as seen from the perspective of Judas Iscariot. This iconic rock opera is not the easiest to undertake, it is at times a highly charged story but there are also moments that demand tenderness and empathy.
The show is directed by Phill Ruddy who is no stranger to this musical score as he directed the groups last staging of “Superstar” in 2010. He is clearly a man who knows his craft and how to mould his cast and bring out the best in them.
Under the musical directorship of John Atkin the live band played effortlessly non-stop from start to finish they were a real treat to listen too.
William Thirlaway (Jesus) plays the title role admirably, his song Gethsemane was extremely moving, you could almost feel his anguish. The role of Jesus is also fantastically played by John Whitney on alternative shows who gives a very strong performance.
Beth Edwards (Mary Magdalene) brought soulful and reflective interludes and when she pronounced her love for this miracle man her rendition of “I don’t know how to love him “ was beautiful.
Darren Tiffney (Pilate) gave a rousing performance.
Matthew Clare (high priest Annas) was suitably menacing to the extent he would make an excellent bent copper in line of duty.
Jonathan Smith brilliantly executed “King Herod’s Song” however the costumes of the ensemble were a little lacklustre and the cabaret number could have had more razzamatazz.
An outstanding performance was given by Christopher Mooney (Judas). As the narrator and betrayer he gave the part just the right blend of vigour, attitude and ultimate guilt that the role called for as well as being gifted with an incredible singing voice.
Overall, this was an impressive production. Choreography was enthusiastic and animated and the whole cast were bursting with energy and clearly enjoying being back treading the boards.
Tickets can still be bought for performances at www.ticketsource.co.uk/riponoperatics
Review by Jane Richardson