IBIBLICAL MUSICAL Jesus Christ Superstar

Glasgow: King’s Theatre, until Sat 7 NOV a, .15,

There are no recognisable stars in this touring West End production of Jesus Christ Superstar - not even Ferdy from This Life, who played Judas in London. That’s not important, because it is the songs which take centre stage in this funkrest of musicals, stuffed full of powerful solos for the principals and some of the few Lloyd Webber ballads that won’t make you barf all over your souvenir programme.

For the benefit of cultural phrlistines, JeSus Christ Superstar is an Idiosyncratic jOUTItOY through the last week of Christ's life, seen mainly from the perspective of hrs sceptical betrayer Judas lscariot, and wrth Mary lulagdalene playing as close to the love interest as you can get Without resorting to blasphemy

Norman JeWIson's film Will always be the definitive version, so the total lack of frenetic dance routines in this production is cause for disappomtment However, the three protagonists are all superb. Understudy Fred Johanson is commanding as Judas, the devrl with all the best songs, Golda Rosheuvel is mellifluous, vulnerable and passionate as Mary lvlagdalene and Lee Rhodes, a man who could give Jennifer Aniston a run her money in the shampoo commercials boasts an

for stakes,

Calvary soldier: lee Rhodes as Jesus Christ

rendition of the chest-heating 'Gethsemane’. Musically, the production cannot be faulted but the crnfussy staging is also unchallenging. Jesus is a bearded bloke In a white tunic, r".lary is a scarlet woman in a scarlet dress, the over- zealous disciples wear combat gear and temple traders appear to be selling Cruise missdes alongside the more usual symbols of Iriaterialism However, the climax is potent, with firstly a flogged and bloodied Jesus dangling on an imposmg cross, and then the empty cross dramatically In from behind to punctuate the bodacious performance wrth stark poignancy (Fiona Shepherd) This production comes to the Edinburgh Playhouse In February I? J.)

impressive falsetto and turns in an epic


ADAPTATION The Prime Of Miss Jean


Edinburgh: King's Theatre, Tue IO Nov—Sat l4 Nov

'cjrve me a girl at an impre55ionable age and she's mine for life '

The passionate rantings of the Edinburgh school ma'am, Miss Jean Brodie, have now reached legendary status. The character first made her entrance in Muriel Spark’s novel of 1961, she has since been reinvented on stage and screen by numerous actresses, including Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave Now it's the turn of Fiona Shaw

Transforming her classroom into a platform, Shaw sei7es both the delight and the danger in this extraordinarly powerful creation Leading her select group of protegees through the streets of Edrnl'iurgh, Miss Brodie is on a mission to pass on her own flawless Vision of the world

Jay Presson Allen's adaptation explores the incredible power of a teacher as well as the startling

Under the influence: Fiona Shaw and her girls

vulnerability of young, iriipressionable minds Scenes of adoring cllll(lT(?il lapping up their role model's fantasies are Juxtaposed VJIIll the effects of such an experience on their adult lives In Miss Brodie's desire to seize and finally possess the minds of her girls, the children end up as warped as their mentor, Running off to ;oin her idol, Mussolini, taking her place in the art master’s bed it all gets rather disturbing.

Director Phyllida Lloyd interprets the story in a stylish and effec tive way The stage is dominated by school gym bars, between scenes, the children are left hanging on them, trapped and lifeless when separated from !.liss Brodie

Fiona Shaw brings the character inth a league of her o‘.‘ her charismatic pass'ons to her pitiful clinging to the role of teacher, Shaw astounds and delights her auclienc e as much as her pupils

A shocking yet beautiful evocation crl school life In the 1930s, The Prune Of MISS Jean Brodie is a timeless lllftf‘ that truly deserves an aiiclienc c-

(Nicola Christie;

.In From

reviews THEATRE



Glasgow: Citizens' Stalls Studio, until Sat 21 Nov s:

Anyone familiar with Mamet knows what to expect wordy confrontations between protagonists who suffer from Tourette's syndrome. The difference here is that the characters lay off the swearing a bit

Oleanna is set In a univerSIty where political correctness has run amok, to the extent that a professor can be fired from his post for comparing education to 'hazrng' and where a hand on the shoulder can suddenly become attempted rape Peter Gurnness is scrperb as the professor who, smug at first, is slowly destroyed by a female student whose agenda seems to be (ll( tated by others

Pulling off prissy rrronologues With great aplomb, Lorna l‘.‘l('D(“.’lil shines in what must be the most well written anti-herome Since Lady lvlac beth Broad brush- strokes have never been Mamet’s thing, so the play encapsulates more themes than the simple male/female teacher/student power struggle implicit in the plot hence much stimulating debate can ensue in the bar afterwards. Birt don't go if you're easily wound up. the last thing the Citizens‘ needs is a fistfight in the foyer. lDavrd MacNally)

Receiving an education: Peter Guinness in Oleanna


Glasgow: Ramshorn Theatre, until Sat

14 Nov Corrupt lords and foolish politicians;

careers and futures wrecked by indiscretion Christopher Marlowe’s play is an rrnrnensely powerful work, still resonant 400 years On

Strathc lycle Theatre Group's production tries to build on this topicality by setting the play in a cr'Os‘ded nightclub, but fails to sustain the analogy We are left With a lbth century play performed in 80s clothing to a 90s soundtrack, timeless in the worst possrble sense The play is lost, and a lac k of consistency permeates the performance

An overly camp Gaveston (Michael McGill) addresses the issue of homophobia with a flick of the wrist and a turn of the hip, while William Rogue's Edward i becomes not a wavering, feminine lover but a butch and even assertive fool. Other actors tend to exaggerate until personalities become no more than banal stereotypes All seem uncomfortable in their roles

perhaps this discomfort explains the air of embarrassment pern'ieating the show, as costume, set and sound clash in a nightmarish cacophony The play lacks cohesion and betrays a lack of commitment that can only disappoint INIc ky Agatel

King of sorrows: Edward II

CLASSICAL TRAGEDY Medea Glasgow: Citizens' Circle Studio, until Sat 21 Nov r Classical pieces often strive unsuccessfully for contemporary relevance, so director/deSIgner Stewart Laing must have given thanks to the gods when his Vision of ancient royal intrigue opened in the same week as a book came out, alleging Princess Diana had threatened to murder her husband's lover. It's a stroke of luck the Citizens' company deserves, . because this is a gripping production Devastating power:

The designs are simple yet hold, the Kathy Kiefa Clarke as M8d93 \’l')l("ll{ e is staged to brutal effect, and the evening is suffused With an atmosphere of palpable menace The actors are 'irven every chance to shine, an opportunity the cast seizes with relish, frerir Pascal langdale's self-delcicling Jason to Anton Fosh and Sean l\’i’((3tl|r'(‘ as two , angelic princes

However, any tragedy stands or falls With its central protagonist, and most the credit here must go the to the frankly astonishing Kathy Kieia Clarke Medea From opening soliloguy - delivered while sitting among the punters final atroc ity, she gives a performance of controlled, devastating power IRoh Eraser)

of to

‘r 19 Nov lflis THE HST 67