Gale Edwards Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics
by Tim Rice
Starring: Glenn Carter (Jesus), Jerome Pradon (Judas), Rik Mayall (Herod)
Gale Edwards' latest interpretation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice 1970s blockbuster is probably the closest yet to their original conception. In modern dress, the story focuses around Judas Iscariot, Jesus' best and most loyal friend. Judas' opening song about Jesus believing his own publicity was always shocking since it suggested that the Son of God had feet of clay. However, looked at from a modern stance where everything is picked over and dissected by spin doctors, press, critics et al, it makes sense. We no longer have simple faith and the only messages that can still arouse mass hysteria are, indeed, those from religions whether based in faith or football.
Glenn Carter is a superb Jesus, but this video production belongs to Judas played by Frenchman Jérôme Pradon. The sweet-faced Jérôme can equally strongly come across as an angry protester at his friend's excesses; a despairing disciple watching his world crumble and finally, the betrayer who also feels betrayed, acting in impotent, raging sorrow. His pain is potent and affecting. This man belongs on the large screen.
I was lucky enough to see the video in a viewing theatre and it held me spellbound, not only for the performances but for the power and brutality of the story. It made uncomfortable viewing but brought nothing but credit to everyone concerned in its making. Well designed, good orchestrations, very well cast - altogether a fitting reminder of a great show.
Talking to Jérôme after the screening, I learned that he is now playing The Man in Whistle Down The Wind for a spell, but plans on returning to his native France afterwards to see what else beckons for him. He comes over so well on film that it seems to me that someone, somewhere should be picking him up in readiness for the next big film musical -Phantom, perhaps? There must be a role for him.
Magazine Editor www.musicalstages.co.uk