Jesus Christ Superstar, The Playhouse, Edinburgh, Four stars

Like messiahs, some shows simply refuse to lie down. Take Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s half century old rock opera charting the last days of the ultimate people’s pin-up.

The show’s most recent resurrection came in 2017 care of Timothy Sheader’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production. Sheader’s reimagining breathed new life into a show that had started to coast on its musical numbers alone, but which was now infused with renewed dynamism and depth.

Eight years on, with a fistful of awards and international tours under its belt, Sheader’s production remains a thrilling second coming, as Rice and Lloyd Webber’s glorious treatise on celebrity, rebellion and how the establishment can create martyrs out of radical chic steps into the post X Factor age.

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A network of giant crucifixes become catwalk, dinner table and gallows in Tom Scutt’s set, which Ian McIntosh’s Jesus walks among as a baseball capped and hoodied up hipster with an acoustic guitar and a twelve-piece boy band in denial.

The carpenter’s son may have the fanbase, but it is Shem Omari James’ Judas who flies solo. Both possess soul aplenty in a production where they become two sides of the same pieces of silver.

With an epic ensemble moving as one under Drew McOnie’s original choreography, Nick Lidster’s sound design and Tom Deering’s musical supervision avoids bombast for something infinitely more nuanced.

The Herald: Andrew Lloyd WebberAndrew Lloyd Webber (Image: free)

After 50 years, Rice and Lloyd Webber’s musical stylings now make for something gloriously retro. Ensemble numbers are unlikely to have sounded better, while in the solos, McIntosh’s delivery is impressively raw, and Omari James provides impressive rock star oomph.

The devil may have the best tunes elsewhere, but in this show, at least, they have been gifted to Mary Magdalene, here played exquisitely by Hannah Richardson, who makes Everything’s Alright and I Don’t Know How to Love Him her own.

On the former she has a supreme back up that paves the way for the full on retro soul revue style freakout that comes later. The end that follows is boldly understated in a show in which looks set to reign immortal for some time yet.