Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert @ Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

For the first time in just over 5 months, I finally stepped my feet back into a theatre. And now, for the first time in many months, I’m going to review it voluntarily. I actually couldn’t be more thrilled about it. As soon as Regent’s Park announced they were going to attempt to put on *something* once the outdoor performances restrictions had eased, I knew I had to get a ticket, regardless of what they were putting on. I couldn’t have been more chuffed to have seen they were bringing back their wonderful production of Jesus Christ Superstar which I managed to catch in 2017. This time, however, adapting it to a concert production with socially distanced staging in a socially distanced auditorium.

Before I go into the actual production, I have to commend just how easy and safe all the systems that the theatre have put in place. From a one way system at the bar to unisex toilets (don’t tut, it’s just a toilet) it was all very organised! I had a gangway 5 seat which isn’t a gangway that exists but is the row that’s right at the bottom of the back set of seats. As this is a row that most of the attendees had to pass, the staff let us stand off to the side to get out of the way and then took us in just before the show, which wasn’t too bad.

So, how is this production different from the previous incarnations? The set used was the one designed for the Open Air Theatre production of Evita last year. There’s next to no props which allows the music and the performances to shine. This production has also been reduced down to a 90 minute straight through performance which didn’t feel out of place. I also got to see a different Jesus/Judas pairing this time round in Pepe Nufrio and Ricardo Afonso, who were both outstanding with their stunning vocals. I also have to commend the performances of Cedric Neal, who plays Simon and gives a powerful performance throughout the show. Shaq Taylor is a fantastic King Herod, it’s an entrance that is worth the wait. And Genesis Lynea is magnetic as the Mob Leader, she’s truly a fantastic dancer and she shines through Drew McOnie’s brilliant choreography.

Overall, I had such a pleasant experience at the theatre. It was a shame to not have the full audience in but theatre has always been about adapting new ways to tell a story and that’s what the creative team here have done. This was a nice starter ahead of having a full non-socially distanced auditorium when the time comes. Hopefully, next year.

Jesus Christ Superstar In Concert is running at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 27th September. For tickets and more information please visit https://openairtheatre.com/production/jesus-christ-superstar-the-concert

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