I had high hopes for this after reading the other reviews but I'm sorry it just doesn't do it for me. My first introduction to JCS was the film, with Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson. I heard the original cast with Ian Gillan and Murray Head at a later date. I can't decide which is the best between the original cast and the film - both have their pros and cons, but both are ultimately fantastic.
Now we come to this shoddy 1996 performance. I really can't warm to it. The singers are good, but they just don't do the roles justice. Maybe in other musicals they suit the parts but not here. To be fair Judas is reasonable at times, but both Judas and Jesus sound plummy, and too refined. There is an absence of emotion throughout as they strive for enunciation. You can't do this when you are trying to portray emotion whether it be anger, sadness etc. Nobody enunciates to perfection when angry - words should be spat out.
As other reviewers have said the music leaves a lot to be desired. It sounds like a kids pantomime. I don't like musicals, full stop, but the music in JCS is fantastic so how have they managed to get it so wrong? I think at times the music has been sped up slightly, which gives it a rushed quality, but its also quite spartan at times - sounds like a bontempi organ playing on repeat at times. Maybe its because JCS wasn't originally a musical that it just sounds wrong.
I'll stick to Gillan/Head, or Neeley/Anderson in the future...