Warm applause is well deserved

VIBRANT: Some of the Malvern Theatres Young Company actors in a scene from their version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

VIBRANT: Some of the Malvern Theatres Young Company actors in a scene from their version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

First published in What's On by

Review – Jesus Christ Superstar at the Forum Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, August 19 to Saturday, August 23, 2014.

TAKE a bow or two everyone connected with the Malvern Theatres Young Company and enjoy all the plaudits deservedly heading your way after another superb annual show.

Last year the company earned standing ovations night after night for its production of Les Miserables, before that it was The Little Shop of Horrors taking the applause, and it’s just the same this time round.

Putting their heart and soul into Superstar from the word ‘go’ these young actors, whose ages range from 14 to 21 years, furnished a truly uplifting experience under the guiding hands of director Andy Reiss which augurs well for the continuing success of the company and also provided strong evidence that among the cast there could even be a few local superstars in the making.

There was quality in abundance in many directions and great vibrancy throughout.

Will Thompson-Brant was a striking Jesus in white jacket and jeans in this modern day offering of ‘cool yoof’ with great support from James Baker (Judas) and Grace Harris’ appealing Mary. All three have fine voices with Mary’s I Don’t Know How to Love Him particularly and hauntingly beautiful.

Grace plays Mary on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, while Polly Edwards took on the role on Tuesday, as well as Friday and the Saturday matinee.

Excellent performances too from Alex Jones, an imposing Pilate, and Jacob Kipping, whose Herod delightfully reprised a song and dance man, while equally impressive, and with good strong voices too, were Jacob Buckley (Caiaphas) and Lewis Allan’s Peter, whose part duet with Mary on Could We Start Again, Please? was quite striking.

Elsewhere the whole ensemble worked endlessly and blended sublimely to provide an incredibly satisfying evening. The choreography was superb and there is a quality moment of fun when most of the young ladies in the cast line up as song and dance secretaries. What a pity the show is only two hours long...

There’s little in the way of a set. It resembled a do-it-yourself scaffolding exercise where some of the parts, as well as a page from the plans, have gone missing. Nevertheless, it didn’t distract as clever lighting and staging picked a way from a gathering of supporters, to the Temple, the Garden at Gethsemane through to Herod’s Palace, and ultimately the hill where Christ was crucified in a splendidly staged and truly dramatic finale.

The five-piece band - led by David Lane - was in great form too and the quality of their playing clearly inspired all on stage.

If there should be any tickets left then grab them quick and enjoy a first class treat with some possible stars of tomorrow.

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