Why Jesus Christ Superstar is the best Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical - Eastbourne date

Jesus Christ Superstar (contributed pic)Jesus Christ Superstar (contributed pic)
Jesus Christ Superstar (contributed pic)
Jesus Christ Superstar might not be the first musical you think of when you think of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Just possibly it has been eclipsed by some of the others.

But as Ian McIntosh, who is our Jesus on a tour which takes in Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre from April 15-20, says: “It's a show that has always been there and it's been there for 50 years. This is the 50th anniversary tour in a way, and personally I think it's their best musical. I think the story is so important... an important story that needs to be told. It is not necessarily the religious aspect but it is the Easter story. It is the story of suffering. It is the story of the Passion. It is about the suffering that we just cannot escape from in life and it's definitely about the sacrifices that we make in life. We are all making little sacrifices all the time. For me as an actor on tour my sacrifice is being away from my children and you are sacrificing your time in talking to me. It is all those little sacrifices but this show is about the ultimate sacrifice, and I think, even though I'm not a religious person, I understand the message of the show. I really love it and I can see that the show affects people and that's another reason that makes it such a great musical. I'm not religious but the story has lasted 2,000 years and you could argue the fact that it has lasted 2,000 years shows that there is substance to it. But we go into all different aspects as well. The fact is that in life you will meet somebody that will betray you and you will also be the betrayer. And with Mary we have got someone who doesn't know how to love and I think everyone can think of someone like that. It's all those different aspects.”

And they're all delivered in a new version which was reimagined at London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre where it originated, led by director Timothy Sheader and choreographer Drew McOnie.

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“Someone said to me that they have seen every production of the show over the years and when they saw this one finally it makes sense. And I think Andrew Lloyd Webber has said that other productions have played on the sex a lot even to the point of saying there is something sexual between Jesus and Judas. But this production shows that it's a story that is actually all about love and pain.”

Part of the reimagining is that in this production Ian as Jesus is the lead singer of an indie band: “Judas is part of that band and Mary is part of that band and all the disciples are part of that band and the way it is is that Jesus has a secret. He's going to give up right before they hit the big time and Judas is doing everything he can to stop him but he is doing it out of love. He is not doing it out of hatred.”

The look of the show is greys and cream and very modern with trainers: “But there is also a floaty robe and there are sandals. We do hint at the religious context. When we do the Last Supper, you will see the Last Supper pose.”