Thursday, June 4, 2015


Jenna Roberts - Luke Kennedy - Michael Falzon 
Music by: Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lyrics by: Tim Rice
Directed by: Stephen Pike
Musical Direction by: Ian McLean
Choreographed by Jordan Kelly

Presented by:  Sneddon Hall and Gallop and Pee Wee Productions
AIS Arena until 7th June 20115

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

The AIS Arena provided a surprisingly cosy environment for this spectacular production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s perennially popular musical. Director, Stephen Pike, has harnessed impressive resources to produce a production which is visually arresting, aurally satisfying and dramatically cohesive.

Heading a large cast, Luke Kennedy and Michael Falzon, as Jesus and Judas, are both exceptional singers capable of extraordinary vocalisations, as Kennedy demonstrates in his stunning performance of “Gethsemane”, and Falzon, in his tortured reprise of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”. Both also possess dramatic gravitas, so that the complexities of the relationship between Jesus and Judas are also satisfyingly depicted. As the catalyst in this relationship, Jenna Roberts as Mary is a sympathetic and compelling presence.

Max Gambale as Pontious Pilate
The rest of the large cast provide strong, committed support with stand-out performances from Max Gambale, whose singing of “Pilate’s Dream” provides one of many highlights during the evening, Gordon Nicholson, campy, sinister and vocally assured confidently nailing “King Herod’s Song”, and Zack Drury whose deep, sonorous bass tones are used to thrilling effect as the High Priest Caiaphas.

Choreographer, Jordan Kelly, has taken full advantage of the huge multi-level setting for his spectacular ensemble routines, and apart from a couple of aberrations,  Anna Seniors earthy abstract costumes, are imaginative contributions to the spectacle created by Phil Goodwin’s  sensational lighting design.  Chris Neal’s sound design insures that not only are the all-important lyrics clearly audible, but also details of the superb musical arrangements from Ian Mclean’s impressive orchestra are able to be appreciated.
This extraordinarily assured and entertaining production is another persuasive demonstration of the depth and quality of Canberra’s musical theatre talent. Even though it’s a short season don’t miss it.

          This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 3rd June 2015