Saturday, June 25, 2011

Superstar at QPAC

This is what I did today.

A friend recommended I go to see the encore performance from Harvest Rain Theatre company, which ends its limited run tomorrow (Sunday). The evening show is sold out but at time of writing there are a few seats left for the 1pmLuke Kennedy as Jesus and Naomi Price as Mary were fantastic. Kennedy's falsetto is superb, and boy, can he hold a note. He sings with emotion and power. Price put a different spin on "I Don't Know How to Love Him" and it was hard to take my eyes off her when she was onstage.

Lionel Theunissen as Pontius Pilate was a standout for me, and Caiaphas' performance was chilling. I can't find the name of the performer, unfortunately, but he had Ozzy Osborne hair and sounded absolutely amazing. The high priest's right hand (wo)man, Annas, was unfortunately difficult to understand through her high-pitched and speedy delivery of the lyrics. As I said to the woman sitting next to me, who had never seen a production of JCS before, it's not an easy score to sing! I'm not sure if the levels weren't quite right in the theatre (I grabbed a last-minute seat in the balcony of the Playhouse at QPAC) or what, but sometimes the musicians drowned out the soloists' quieter notes.

My friend and I both saw a production with Shaun Kohlman as Judas, and in today's performance there were a couple of cracked notes in his first song. He did very well in what is an extremely demanding role, but I was disappointed not to have seen the much-hyped Tod Strike as Judas. (He's the one in the video.)

For a production of this scale, you can't get much better. There were 15 musicians tucked into the edges of the set, plus the apostles and their women, plus the priests, Mary and Jesus - there were often 40 to 60 performers onstage at one time! Incredible. The choreography was tight but not full of perfect lines, which suited the mood and energy of this rock musical. The costumes used similar hues to make a pleasing patchwork across the ensemble, and the set - the interior of an ageing cathedral - had enough stairs, doorways and platforms to make it interesting.

I love the rock musical theme throughout Superstar, and I remembered the music well enough that I didn't lose the plot if I missed a line, but not so well that I could anticipate every phrase. In my last year of high school I played one of the apostles, so this musical will always have a place in my heart. Harvest Rain Theatre produced a vivid and confident production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice's classic, and I look forward to seeing more from them while I'm in Brisbane.


  1. I learned today that Tod Strike broke his leg and, as he hadn't had an understudy, Shaun Kohlman had to learn the part very quickly so they could finish the run. Kudos, Shaun!

  2. Hey, was this a tweetup with @wendyldavis? She was also there, and she was also in our Information Retrieval unit this last semester. I didn't know you two knew eachother?! (She's also an onliner, but from Bundaberg...)

  3. Nope, it was a coincidence! I tried to tweet you about it earlier today but I think TweetDeck ate it.