Peaches Christ Superstar review: Cult singer’s rock opera triumph

Dublin Fringe Festival: Transgressive electro artist brings bravura spirit to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical


Abbey Theatre
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What could possibly go right? Peaches, the transgressively funny, gender-contorting singer of electro-punk-funk cult classics like Diddle My Skittle, takes on the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the man blamed with turning musical theatre into a blandly melodramatic mainstream commodity. But pretty much everything about this solo interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar turns out triumphantly.

Accompanied only by a pianist, Mathias Halvorsen, Peaches largely performs the story of a sceptical Judas's betrayal of an uncertain Jesus in, well, straight fashion. She imbues the musical's characters with emotion and surprising nuance, the unadorned nature of her renditions highlighting the wit and daring of Tim Rice's lyrics.

But it’s the performer’s charismatic personality that really shines through. Her powerful, controlled singing is bolstered by her hypnotic stage presence, wicked sense of humour and bravura sense of the dramatic, culminating with the climactic title song.

With her sincere yet subversive show, Peaches indeed proves herself a true superstar: electro-punk’s gain has been musical theatre’s loss, until now.