# Jesus Christ Superstar, by Webber and Rice, directed by Stephen Robertson for showbiz at the James Hay Theatre.
This show has been around the block a few times, but you'd never know. It remains fresh because the music is so good, because the lyrics are contemporary, and because it is amenable to interpretation.
In Stephen Robertson's hands the line taken through it is a serious and thoughtful one. Only the outrageous Herod's Song, perfectly camped by Michael Lee Porter, lent much frivolity to proceedings, but the mood, though dark, is not of despair.
Today's technology played a part in the form of a large divided screen centre backstage, which unobtrusively showed film from time to time, complementing the stage action but never overwhelming it.
The set was a perfect mix of equal parts light (a brilliant Grant Robertson design) and an open arena (Harold Moot). A revolve was carefully utilised by the director to heighten the drama.
Stephen Robertson again showed his talent in getting the best out of the large cast, and he also designed the costumes. His colour choices were impeccable, with brick, brown and beige shades creating an excellent Middle Eastern ambience.
The leads, Matthew Pike (Jesus), David McMeeking (Judas), Jennine Bailey (Mary Magdalene) were outstanding and formed a well differentiated vocal mix, while Blair McHugh as Pontius Pilate was particularly impressive. Richard Marrett's musical direction and orchestra sound was great.
I am still pondering the ending. It was entirely appropriate and yet left a flat feeling. Perhaps that was intentional.
With this production, the twin team of Robertson and showbiz maintain and reinforce the formidably high standard of musical theatre in the city.