Jesus Christ Superstar takes Australia by storm

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hugely successful arena tour of the hit rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar is almost at an end in Australia, with one final performance scheduled in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

So how has the show been received Down Under?

A glance at the press reviews tells you all you need to know. Aussie- born Tim Minchin, playing the role of Judas, was always going to be welcomed wholeheartedly and popular TV presenter Andrew O’Keefe was a perfect choice for the role of King Herod. But the British cast members have also been getting their fair share of the plaudits.

Ben Forster and Melanie C have been wowing Australian audiences

Ben Forster, winner of ITV’s Superstar show in the UK excels in the title role as Jesus. Critics have been full of praise for his performances:

‘absurdly talented’ – The Age

“Forster’s versatile voice is thrilling and impassioned singing the rock anthem, Gethsemane, but he is equally compelling singing ballads with subtlety.” – Herald Sun

“Newcomer Ben Forster is Jesus. Forster has had roles in the London productions of Grease and The Rocky Horror Show. He has a big job. Forget the turning water into wine part. That’s easy. Forster has to turn the 14,000 punters in the audience into satisfied concert-goers and he does that with ease.” – Noise 11

“Minchin, Forster and Mel C can all seriously, and I mean seriously sing. Some of the notes that UK singer Forster held were nothing short of ridiculous, cue several mid-showing standing ovations.” – Take 40

“His Jesus is powerful, emotional and a star-making performance.” – Australian Stage

Melanie C has been similarly well-received:

‘voice beautifully showcased throughout’ – The Age

“Mel C’s ‘Everything’s Alright’ solo was spot on.” – Take 40

“The biggest surprise (for me, anyway) was the impressive Melanie C (or Melanie Chisholm) as Mary Magdalene. Best known as a former Spice Girl, and with the only female principal role in the show, she holds her own and delivers a standout performance. Her biggest solo number, the famous I Dont Know How To Love Him is sung so well and in a manner that no one previously had done. Not an easy feat for anyone to make something so familiar their very own.” – Australian Stage

“And former “Sporty” Spice Girl Melanie C absolutely blitzes her big number, I Don’t Know How To Love Him, bringing a more raw rock edge to the bridge before hitting the final big notes right out of the arena.” – Adelaide Now

Links to a selection of the reviews can be found below:

Ben also spoke to the Australian media about his childhood ambition to play the role:

In the limited time they have between shows, the cast have been getting to know their surroundings, most recently taking a trip to Australia Zoo in Queensland.

Tim Minchin, Melanie C and Ben Forster take time out from their hectic schedules to visit Australia Zoo in Queensland.

The arena tour returns to the UK in October.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson

The title of this book alone piqued my curiosity enough to press the download button. I wasn’t certain how much of a story there could be given the age of the central character but I was pleasantly surprised by the many twists and turns throughout the novel. What began as something of a far-fetched tale, continued to develop into an almost absurd series of events, interspersed with flashbacks in time which were often equally ludicrous, but which were both compelling and humorous to read.

The humour is quite often dark, but is used to give a deeper insight into Allan Karlsson’s character and personality and so adds to the overall appeal of the story. His interactions with key figures from history, despite his total lack of interest in political affairs, offers a unique twist to the tale.

The only disappointment for me was the ending. Although most of the novel was far-fetched, the trip to Indonesia seemed too contrived as an attempt to tie up loose ends and create a ‘happy-ever-after’ scenario, compounded by the unlikely event of Allan falling for Amanda.

Overall though, an interesting concept that has enough to keep you hooked until the final page.