Monday 08 October 2012 Updated: 09/10 09:22
Jesus Christ Superstar at Birmingham NIA.
This arena sized production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar is set firmly in the modern world where news footage and Twitter comments create tension and a sense of unease as they are projected onto the giant screen at the back of the stage.
In a world of protests and political turmoil, referencing the Occupy movement, we are introduced to Jesus as the leader of a revolutionary group of youngsters, bidding to topple the men in suits.
The basic stage set up means there is little variety in the staging but there are expertly executed dance sequences throughout the show.
The performances across the cast are good, with Chris Moyles stealing the show as TV host Herod who runs a thoroughly modern public vote to find out whether Jesus is a fraud.
Elsewhere in the cast Tim Minchin is strong as Judas and you can forgive the occasional dodgy high note because he gives the most emotionally engaged performance while former Spice Girl Mel C sings well as Mary Magdalene.
In the starring role Ben Forster, who won the part of Jesus on Andrew Lloyd Webber's ITV talent show Superstar, is a good singer but there is little evidence as to why all the protesters are following his Jesus.
Perhaps it didn't help that it was difficult to distinguish all of the lyrics, but there was little in the first half which led me to believe in him as their leader.
The second half was more successful however with a greater emotional impact and Forster's performance became stronger as he had more to do.
Overall it is a show which looks good and fills the arena, but it was a bit empty beneath the surface.
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