11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
JCS DVD Review,
This review is from: Jesus Christ Superstar [DVD]  (DVD)
I bought this DVD from Amazon after seeing the wonderful revamped (2004) production of JCS at Birmingham Hippodrome recently, because the experience was one I couldn't wait to recreate in my living room.
It's interesting to compare this filmed version - which dates back to 2000 - to the new show. It takes a quite different approach, and I find it hard to say which I prefer. I guess I'll just sit on the fence and say I love both - they're wonderful for different reasons.
The film has a very modern, edgy, West Side Story-ish feel - with minimalist sets, video screens, graffiti, clubby costumes and Christ fans bearing banners that proclaim slogans like 'JESUS RULES.' It's interesting to see how the new theatre production has returned to its 'Biblical' roots, with more traditional costumes and sets.
It's also worth comparing the DVD with the original 1973 Jesus Christ Superstar film. While the feel of that was more epic and grandiose - being shot on stunning location in Israel - this version conversely works well in its studio setting. The ambience is more claustrophobic and menacing.
Glenn Carter once again stars as Jesus and looks luscious. He has an amazing vocal range and acts with charismatic passion.
The great Rik Mayall gives a gloriously taunting performance in what must be the most fun cameo role in musical theatre - Herod. He plays the sneering king just as he played Richie Rich doing one of his showbiz pastiches in the criminally underrated 80s sitcom Filthy Rich & Catflap.
I have to say I find it difficult, after seeing the new show, to imagine anyone but Fame Academy's James Fox playing Judas - he has already made the role so much his own - though Jerome Pradon is excellent here as the tormented traitor. Renee Castle makes a sensual, fiery Mary Magdalene, and Tony Vincent -who has since come to greater prominence in the Queen musical We Will Rock You - makes a pre-Galileo appearance as a blond-highlighted Simon.
The DVD features a bonus behind-the-scenes documentary with enlightening interviews with the main stars, crew and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and trailers for JCS itself, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat(starring Donny Osmond and Joan Collins) and Cats.
As I said, this isn't exactly a new release, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wins new audiences on the back of the recent 'Superstar' tour. Die-hard fans will already have it, but for slow-on-the-uptake converts like me, it's well worth the money.