Monday, December 3, 2012

Review of JCSS

Chris Moyles as Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar
Photo: Alastair Muir
Rebecca asked me how Jesus Christ Super Star was. She is planning on taking her whole family so I to tell her about my trip there with Ceilidh and Meighan Johnson. To begin with, when I first saw this show in the 1970's, I took my own children to it. The movie was a source of controversy. Protestors were outside with placards warning movie-goers about its blasphemous content.  That alone would have peeked interest in the material for some of my kids.

No protestors in 2012, and furthermore, few viewers. Counting Meighan, Ceilidh and myself, only 11 people were at the performance. So my guess is, there is no need to go early to get a good seat on Wednesday.

Doral gave the kids money for treats, for he says what is a good movie without popcorn. The amount of money he gave them produced an surprised exclamation from me. He reminded me that popcorn, pop, a bag of candy and an Xmas ornament (the special at the Cineplex this season) might come in at just under $20. I laughingly told the girls – better we should buy the CD and forgo the food, but then I remember one of the basic tenants of watching movies is about pleasure – visual physical, and that my  film professor used to tell us to bring out treats, sit back and enjoy.

I thought the review in the New York Times was off-putting. A person might not want to see the show after reading it. I had gone to utube to see a few clips and also had refreshed my memory on the lyrics. I don’t know how Meighan and Ceilidh took to the show. When it was time for the curtain calls, Ceilidh said, “The show can’t be over. I know the story. This is not how it ends.” She is right – the musical ends with the crucifixion and not with the resurrection.

It would have been helpful if I had briefed Meighan on the characters in the story – Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate, Peter, Mary Madelene and Judas. You might want to do that with the boys, as well as look at the songs, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hosanna” and "Herod’s song" Though perhaps you don’t need to do that, for those are the tunes the girls came out of the show, singing as they walked through the foyer and out to the car. They had no prior knowledge of the music. When they went home to sing them to Doral, he joined in, so I know my money wasn't wasted on him 30 years ago.

I think you are going to love the entry into the movie, Rebecca – modern day T.V. new broadcasts warning about the fall of Rome are flashed on the screen. And at one point the followers of Jesus are camped out in tents, just like the student protesters do on campus now-a-days. Do your boys know the metaphor of men in suits. That will do them well during Pilate’s trial.

I liked the costuming in general and specifically on Mary Magdalene and on Jesus. I thought Judas's scarf was a little much, but hey, what do I know. There are so many anachronisms (tattoos on the character’s arms and legs, dancing the Charleston, etc., the shiny dresses during Herod's sequence reminded me of costuming on girls in the Jersey Boys at one point).  The visuals are fun and give a look to the film that left me always interrogating what I was seeing -- a musical or a morality play.

Was it fun?


Would I go back to see it again on Wednesday?

Mostly certainly, Rebecca, if I were there with you and could go along with the kids. I might do it alone, as well. 

Now, waiting for your comments after next Wednesday's viewing.



  1. Yea! thanks for the review! I cannot WAIT to see it! I will try to get the music downloaded tonight so we can listen in advance!

  2. Wow! steve was too sick to head out, but I snagged Alex and Duncan to go. WOW!!! Tim Minchin was AMAZING. I headed off to his blogspot to find more clips from the show.

    also found out that the DVD gets released in the UK. I want the CD. I loved this version!