Review: Jesus Christ Superstar at Hayling Island Community Centre

Sean Ridley in the title role of Hayling Musical Society's Jesus Christ Superstar
Sean Ridley in the title role of Hayling Musical Society's Jesus Christ Superstar
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Director Tony Dart immerses the audience fully in Hayling Musical Society’s latest offering at the Hayling Community Centre by seating the audience on three sides of the performance space and playing the majority of the show on the floor.

The performance itself is a mixed-bag with some definite weaknesses and some soaring strengths.

The ensemble – a wonderfully eclectic mix of people – need more focus and lack a good deal of dramatic and physical tension.

That said, vocally they are on-form and the individual vocal-lines can be picked out whilst blending well.

The principal vocals are where the real strength of this piece lies.

Olli Heath tackles Judas (a part the composer himself describes as virtually unsingable) with seeming ease and Lydia Wells as Mary Magdalene gives a sublime I Don’t Know How To Love Him.

There are some really good work from the smaller principal parts, too, including Ewan Wharton (Simon), Darren Alderton (Herod), Bill Wallage (Pilate) and, particularly, Rowan Evans as Peter.

But the show belongs to Sean Ridley as Jesus whose performance is on another level altogether.

The strongest actor and singer in the cast, he leads from the front and plays the public and private psychology of Jesus with an astonishing veracity.

Until Saturday.