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Old 22-09-2012, 12:16
tally
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As I cant go and see the show, I just thought I'd start a thread for anyone who is lucky enough to have tickets. Enjoy. I'd love to read your reviews

The press reviews of last night's opener at the O2 are very good.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/t...O2-review.html
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Old 22-09-2012, 18:52
SULLA
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A nice read
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Old 23-09-2012, 10:11
SteelEdge
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Huge Tim Minchin fan but was wary of going to see him in a musical. Now may have to snap up a ticket for the Wembley show, seeing as that review praised him so much. 50 is pricey but I think it'll be worth it.
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Old 23-09-2012, 12:00
tally
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According to all the reviews I've read, he's the stand out star. While Ben makes an excellent Jesus, and Chris Moyles a competent Herod, Mel C is great as MM but it's Tim you'll remember. (Good job too as Judas is the main lead). Loving the clips I've seen so far. I really hope they do a DVD.
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Old 23-09-2012, 13:34
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I saw it last night and really did enjoy it though it was very hard to see and I wasn't even that far away. This is one of my alltime favourite musicals and I am definitely a big fan of the film as opposed to stage versions i've seen.

Tim was okay. He did better than I thought he would. He is not vocally equipped for the songs so he did struggle, IMO, with this score in particular. I can't speak for his singing in other circumstances. I don't really know him but I know he has a devout following. Because there is a huge screen at times behind the actors which would occasionally show the actors upclose and blow up the facial expressions, there were a couple of bits that he looked comical rather than what was intended. Impossible to get right though. Either you act for the stage to emote or you act more subtly for the camera. His Superstar was good.

Mel C was good but too breathy on her singing. Chris Moyles was funny but can't act so to me, he was a fail. He hammed without acting if that is possible. Nothing going on in the eyes...

Ben's singing was a phenomenon. His Gethsemene got the standing ovation it deserved and he also got the most applause, which I thought would go to Mr Minchin. His acting still needs some work but he really did a fine job and was definitely the man for the part.

The veteran actors who played Pilate and Caiaphus nearly stole the show...oh and the little chap who played Caiaphus's high singing cohort, Annas. They were fabulous together. Shortie and tallie; bass and high tenor. Pilate was ominously creepy.I didn't know him but he was the original baddie in We Will Rock You and just superb. The support cast was very good and the son and I played "spot the Jesus rejects in the chorus..." Jeff and Tim, respectively who both understudy the leads.

Definitely enjoyed it and for me, 56 per ticket isn't too painful considering the end result. We were pleased.
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Old 23-09-2012, 13:38
Gellymiss
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If you are interested in more audience member's reviews, What's Onstage.com has a forum on it. But be warned. There don't seem to be many favourable ones. My favourite had to be the one saying that during a technical hitch in the matinee on 22nd, Tim Minchin, hoistedand stuck on a cross, midair was heard to mutter Awesome!
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Old 24-09-2012, 01:31
Sambda
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Here's my twopenworth, done for another forum.

-------------------

Well, I'm back from seeing JCS.

A few quick notes... (speed-written, so you'll have to forgive the mistakes).

The biggest problem with the whole show is that it comes across more as a collection of set-pieces rather than being a continuous, single story (this impression wasn't helped by the audience clapping after each number like this was a pop concert). It seems to all be some sort of clever concept piece but I'm not clear what the concept was actually supposed to be! Jesus brought up to date (or in the future?) - yeah - but then why was Pilate a businessman(?) with, apparently, contol over the life and death of Jesus (portrayed as a sort of hippy)? What were the Jewish priests (Caiaphas and Annas) now supposed to be? Why was Jesus sent off to a bloke (Herod) who presents a TV show? The roman soldiers seemed to be Muslim radicals... Ahh the confusion!

All the performances were good or better - I saw no technical difficiences whatsover. I didn't like the way certain characters were handled but that isn't a comment on the technical ability of the singer/s. As I said, Pilate is portrayed as a big businessman of some sort - actually rather a normal chap, to be honest. This is nowhere near as good the idea in the 1973 film of having him as a neurotic, superstitious, slightly poofy narcissist, and these changes completely ruin the point of at least one song ("Pilate's Dream"). And, to be honest, Pilate is the biggest let-down in the entire show - a dead loss, in fact. I also thought Annas (s.i.c. to Caiaphas) was better done in the film too.

I was about the closest person to the stage, so I could easily scrutinise the actual actors (right down to that rather nice girl in the chorus with the bog-brush hairdo). However, anybody from about half-way back in the O2 arena wouldn't have a chance of seeing anything, so would have had to watch the big screen at the back of the stage. Those up in the top tiers (called "Level 4" at the O2 for some reason) probably would have struggled to even see the screen particularly well. The smaller venues (once the show is outside London) will probably help with this.

The crucifixion scene was done well, with Ben Forster hoisted high up into the rafters of the arena (looked bloody dangerous to me, but I am sure it wasn't!) Also effective was Judas's (Tim Minchin's) suicide scene. The tree from which he hangs himself is a real prop, but it is integrated into a forest of "virtual" trees by being silhouetted against the big screen. The production should have tried that approach more often as it "opens up" the confines of the stage to good effect.

Best-handled songs? No prizes for "Gethsemane" - excellently done by Ben Forster. Second favourite for me (most will probably disagree) was "This Jesus Must Die", in which Capiphas, Annas and the other Jewish priests debate what to do about JC; the singers involved in this seem to have more operatic-style voices, rather than the pop/rock voices of the other players; and for a moment we're back in a continuing narrative rather than a succession of pop singers doing stand-alone songs.

In turns of the loudness of applause that Ms Chisholm recieved, which some people seem to want to know - just normal level for "Everything's Alright" and "Could We Start Again Please?" but much louder for "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Those are her three big songs, but she does the odd line or two of a few others. In fact, I think "Could..." has been modified from that in the film to give her more to sing.

At the curtain call at the end of things, Chris Moyles (as Herod) got, by far, the biggest cheer, followed by Minchen and Forster. Mel's cheer was about average. And, yes, her anachronistic cross tattoo was left uncovered - whether that was supposed to weave itself into the (deep breath) C-o-n-c-e-p-t of the whole presentation I couldn't be arsed to think about, to be honest.

Some reviewers of earlier performances have commented that they noted many audience members left during the interval, never to return. That most certainly didn't happen at the performance I attended (Sunday 23rd), so either this production is considerably more polished on this, it's 4th performance, or somebody was telling porkies before.

None of the production problems mentioned from the earlier performances were evident. The sound was absolutely perfect - every word audible and the vocal-to-backing mix spot on. I was deafened by the live drummer (all the instruments were played live with little or no backing track that I could hear) but that's because I was sitting so close to him and he didn't have his perspex sound deadener completely surrounding his kit!

I did say "no" production problems, but if I am being picky, the honky-tonk piano break in "Herod's Song" was inaudible for the first few bars. One of the pyros on the stage also failed to go off, but was lit instead by one of the chorus using a lighter (presumably a back-up measure) to laughs from the technical area (which I was right behind).

All in all, well worth a look. Maybe I was lucky, but I saw very few of the deficiences on the night I attended that other reviews have mentioned.

Any questions, ask away. (And, I don't know if they were supposed to have them, but a few of the audience seemed to have cameras in there).
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Old 24-09-2012, 18:19
Herts47
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I saw it on Saturday night. It is one of my all time favourite musicals so I was expecting to be super critical. I also didn't think Ben was a worthy winner in the reality show as I think Rory was the technically better singer and was worried that Ben may come over as demon like with his facial expressions and thought he would struggle with the high notes (he screeched rather than sang them imo).

So with that in mind, I trotted along to the 02. Seats were brilliant and got a really good view of the stage and screen - also the lighting guys precariously perched way up high above the stage (rather them than me).

Overall, I thought it was brilliant to hear it as Lloyd Webber had intended it to be and it was very rocky, but I did think it lost the emotion that you get in the theatre with JCS.

Tim Minchin to me was absolutely excellent - his singing and acting were superb and the suicide scene really got to me. The lighting on him made his face look like a scull at one point. Brilliantly clever. He carried the whole show imo and to me, he was possibly the best Judas I've seen. He deserves an Olivier award for best actor in a musical.

Mel C? Didn't do it for me. Too breathy although she was ok. No Yvonne Elliman though.

Ben? Not good in 1st half - struggled to reach the notes and ham acted his way through. However, he was better in 2nd half. The top note of Gethsemane was a step up job rather than a hit the note and go for it, but he was ok.

Like one of the reviewers I thought This Jesus Must Die was brilliant too. I think Pilate was fantastic and he was superb in the trial scene - especially in the bit where he reluctantly orders the crucifixion.

As well as Tim, I think the stars of the show were the band who were brilliant all the way through. I think they carried Mel C to be honest. It would have also been great for the cast to do a reprise of Superstar as the audience on Saturday were up for it and wanted to listen to more of the band.

The Ensemble were also excellent. Saw Jeff but didn't realise Tim was in it as well. Moyles was good too I thought - he will grow into the role I think. Good personality on stage.

So in summary, I loved it and want to go and see it again now, but I would have not cast Mel C and I think the part of Jesus is so easy to compare with previous actors like Ted Neely etc, but I think Ben did ok and will contain his nerves more to sing it better as the tour goes around the UK.
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Old 24-09-2012, 21:56
MSS
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Trying to sort out travel plans & need to get an idea on how long the performance is (evening start & finish times).

Thanks!
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Old 24-09-2012, 22:23
Sad_BB_Addict
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Several clips on Youtube eg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZIE3peQSYQ
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Old 24-09-2012, 22:32
DiamondDoll
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Thanks for the reviews guys.
Interesting reading.
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Old 24-09-2012, 22:45
Sambda
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Mel C? Didn't do it for me. Too breathy although she was ok. No Yvonne Elliman though.
The other thing I noticed with her is that she tends to stop acting when the "spotlight" (so to speak) or focus isn't on her. That might be TV or film acting (when you're delivering a line but not on camera), but it ain't the way you do things on the stage.

The choruses on these productions often over-do the acting-in-the-background stuff, but they're kids trying to make their mark, so they get forgiven. But to see Mel C doing the opposite extreme... when she was part of a background group, she was just standing there, arms by her sides, blank face.

(Some of this wouldn't have been so obvious from way back in the arena, as you couldn't see her face from there, and she wouldn't have been the actor currently being shown on the big screen at the back.)
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Old 24-09-2012, 23:03
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Old 25-09-2012, 07:15
Gellymiss
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Trying to sort out travel plans & need to get an idea on how long the performance is (evening start & finish times).

Thanks!
It finished at 10.15. Started at 8.00.
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Old 25-09-2012, 14:23
Herts47
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[quote=Sambda;61309153]The other thing I noticed with her is that she tends to stop acting when the "spotlight" (so to speak) or focus isn't on her. That might be TV or film acting (when you're delivering a line but not on camera), but it ain't the way you do things on the stage.

I didn't notice that - that's really interesting though. I think you need to be in the part at all times to be able to sign it meaningfully, so that may explain why I didn't think she was that great.
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Old 26-09-2012, 09:59
MSS
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Gellymiss - Thanks!
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Old 26-09-2012, 20:30
Gellymiss
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Gellymiss - Thanks!
No probs. It was running 5 mins late but I read on another forum that it finished at 10.15. Sadly, it was so busy getting out that i missed my train to get back to Wilts and ended up on the drunkard train to get me as far west as Reading. My poor son got an education that night!
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Old 28-09-2012, 20:36
thenetworkbabe
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Strange reviews. The paper critics go from one star to 4 star and seem to disagree whether its a good reworking or fails completely, and argue that some people are bad who others found really good. The sound is criticised by lots of people for drowning the singing , but it sounds fine on some youtubes - but not others .May depend entirely where you are? Suspect the DVD will be something completely different again. Judging by the better quality youtubes Melanie looks convincing, different enough to standout and is acting it throughout, and will sound good singing it, Tim's highs and lows and inaudible bitsshould l get ironed out, and a bit of better editing may make Ben's acting standout a bit more and flow better.

Still got no idea what ALW is doing htough. if he wanted to preserve his work and remind people about how good it was , he had plenty of stronger, more experienced, Jesuses turning up to audition for superstar and you might not eevn go for Melanie or Tim if you wnated to maximise either the quality or the box office take. It just seems a n odd thing to do after celebrating Phantom with a top cast and sending another top cast on tour.
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Old 28-09-2012, 21:22
Gellymiss
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I think Webber thought Moyles and Mel C had the pop clout to put bums on seats. Maybe Tim Minchin was a choice for the more knowledgeable theatre goer. Not sure. As far as Jesus goes, im not sure who you are referring to as they were all very young and not super experienced. Ben was always praised on the show for his acting ability, something that not alot of them were acknowledged for. Vocally wise, when I saw it, he was amazing, though his interpretation was weak. The audience went so mad for him, I assumed they were there for him and not Moyles or Mel.
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Old 30-09-2012, 03:02
thenetworkbabe
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I think Webber thought Moyles and Mel C had the pop clout to put bums on seats. Maybe Tim Minchin was a choice for the more knowledgeable theatre goer. Not sure. As far as Jesus goes, im not sure who you are referring to as they were all very young and not super experienced. Ben was always praised on the show for his acting ability, something that not alot of them were acknowledged for. Vocally wise, when I saw it, he was amazing, though his interpretation was weak. The audience went so mad for him, I assumed they were there for him and not Moyles or Mel.
The Jesuses on the show were, but ALW sent the experienced top people who auditioned home at the bootcamp stage. He could have had half a dozen WestEnd leads from similar musicals or even whoever WWRY is taking out next year as Galileo in their global arena tour.

Not at all sure what ALW was thinking off. if you wnat to build your legacy you go for the best quality possible and pput it on DVD and TV. , He doesn't need the money. Chris has an enormous fanbase (twitter anyway) but would they pay those sorts of prices to here him sing? The SG's can still fill an arena - but Melanie has difficulty selling any records in the UK - she fills big arenas in Europe and sells more there rather than here. I can see why you would have Melanie post Blood Brothers - she can act it, turn out 8 times a week , looks fine in close up and she's got a tone that wraps around these lyrics in an interesting way - but he could have had several WestEnd actresses do it and there's a couple from his own shows who have done it brilliantly? if he wanted to sell tickets there's more obvious people to send on in roles that lend themselves more to name casting - a bit of boyband here and someone off a soap who really can sing there.
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Old 30-09-2012, 17:12
Gellymiss
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The Jesuses on the show were, but ALW sent the experienced top people who auditioned home at the bootcamp stage. He could have had half a dozen WestEnd leads from similar musicals or even whoever WWRY is taking out next year as Galileo in their global arena tour.

Not at all sure what ALW was thinking off. if you wnat to build your legacy you go for the best quality possible and pput it on DVD and TV. , He doesn't need the money. Chris has an enormous fanbase (twitter anyway) but would they pay those sorts of prices to here him sing? The SG's can still fill an arena - but Melanie has difficulty selling any records in the UK - she fills big arenas in Europe and sells more there rather than here. I can see why you would have Melanie post Blood Brothers - she can act it, turn out 8 times a week , looks fine in close up and she's got a tone that wraps around these lyrics in an interesting way - but he could have had several WestEnd actresses do it and there's a couple from his own shows who have done it brilliantly? if he wanted to sell tickets there's more obvious people to send on in roles that lend themselves more to name casting - a bit of boyband here and someone off a soap who really can sing there.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is always about the money. You need only read about Sunset Blvd and what he pulled there to know that. His choosing Melanie S must've been purely financialy based. And she would have more pulling power than someone off a soap, as you suggested. And she's done theatre so she's guaranteed... I do think she was an obvious choice for the non-theatre attendee who wouldn't know a Kerry Ellis or other west end performer. But everyone knows Sporty! For better or worse. She was okay vocally but the performance, and how little she did with it, was disappointing for me.

As for Jesus, I spied Ben on day one and thought that's the one. I didn't have much faith in any they showed at bootcamp so maybe ALW wasn't feeling the love either. I did think Ben would've done better, acting wise, than what I saw. But I only saw on his 3rd performance. Maybe he's kicked it up more. I know they really weren't given much time to rehearse from ending of the superstar competition to start of the show. Maybe it's all been too rushed for them all??? Who knows? It'll be interesting to see how much it's made when it's all done and dusted.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:13
Abriel
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we went last night, thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved Chris's cameo, thought the leads all sang and acted well, Tim was excellent. the only thing wae felt it lacked was a bit of atmosphere, due to size of the venue(NIA), Certainly didn't notice any sound problems, whole crowd loved it.

never knew Ben had that six pack tucked away

Is there going to be a dvd/cd
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Old 09-10-2012, 18:48
Gellymiss
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we went last night, thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved Chris's cameo, thought the leads all sang and acted well, Tim was excellent. the only thing wae felt it lacked was a bit of atmosphere, due to size of the venue(NIA), Certainly didn't notice any sound problems, whole crowd loved it.

never knew Ben had that six pack tucked away

Is there going to be a dvd/cd
You can preorder the DVD on Amazon...think it's out in Nov.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:49
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Thanks, I've tracked it down now, looking forward to it
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Old 13-10-2012, 20:51
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Saw the show last night in the o2 in dublin. We were right at the back so it was a mixture of screen and stage watching for me, but I still enjoyed it.
I think the casting of Tim Minchin and Mel C was clever in that the followers of Jesus were represented as hippies/Occupy Wall Street types (they even had coloured tents on stage) and the Romans were dressed as the rich business men and bankers, and I felt that Tim and Mel both looked the part, and did well in their roles. My dad thought Mel c sang brilliantly, and he had seen her on the superstar tv show and thought she wasn't great at all, so it just shows you how much she stepped up her game. The backing band were really good as well.
Ben was absolutely fantastic, I was not a fan of him on the show at all, but his singing was outstanding and all the emotion was there. He had this weird wig on and looked so different, I actually thought it was an understudy for ages. But he was super.
The other highlights for me were the duo with the high and low voices, both superb, and pilate was fantastic as well.
I loved Chris Moyles as a Tv X factor style host in a red suit, but what struck me the most is how trim he looked! He really looked great, and got a really good reception from the crowd. My parents didn't have a clue who he was, and they both thought he was really good.
Overall, a very enjoyable show, it would have been nicer to be closer to the stage, but I would def recommend it.
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