ULTRA-powerful and pulsating is one way to describe the current UK touring version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

It is the same acclaimed Regents Park Open Air Theatre Production performance, but here indoors and not looking out of place inside the vast Empire.

The setting resembles a rock concert in front and behind the stage with the ten-piece band on different tiers of a metal scaffolding with a centre piece featuring a huge level cross-shaped platform walkway.

There is a brief but distinct heavy metal-tinged opening to the proceedings as the ensemble in hoodies and track suit bottoms give it a very contemporary feel.

The familiar Tim Rice lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber music quickly dominate the storytelling of the last years of Jesus Christ's life leading to his violent suffering, trials and crucifixion.

I have seen many different takes on this retelling of the Passion of Christ over the years and this one directed by Timothy Sheader is by far the starkest and most stripped down without losing any of its visual strengths.

Ian McIntosh is Jesus and has a voice that echoes throughout the auditorium.

He is utterly electrifying on the confessional Gethsemane where he cries Before I Change My Mind which received rapturous applause from the wide-aged group audience.

Other key performers are also outstanding notably Shem Omari James as Judas, Ryan O'Donnell as Pilate and Hannah Richardson as Mary.

The special effects come courtesy of clever lighting as seen on the Last Supper gathering and in the scene where Jesus is lashed 39 times.

When he is brutally beaten, scattered sparkle is used to great effect and as Judas accepts his blood money from a chest his hands are dipped in a silver solution that remain on his hands till the end.

The darkness is alleviated by comedy superstar Julian Clary as Herod.

This popular Vaudeville styled number gave charismatic Julian the chance to shine in a dazzling sequence.

The choreography by Drew McOnie is stunning, inventive and thrilling throughout.

It all leads to the crucifixion scene which was dark and gripping as the whole theatre fell silent and reflective The cast returned for a standing ovation with each of the central performers taking a bow bathed in their own spotlight.

If you have seen Jesus Christ Superstar before then this version will certainly keep you more than satisfied. If you are new to it you will not be disappointed either by its vibrant approach.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a musical that will never date.

Every interpretation has something to say and this production speaks volumes.

This is a modern, relevant, respectful theatrical experience that pulls no punches while keeping the ever-lasting poignancy.

Verdict: Super-soaring show. Four stars

It is on until Saturday. Tickets from here