"Still relevant 2000 years on"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 06/04/15

Written by Steve Andrews and performed by Prior Commitment, this is the story of Jesus – and particularly the crucifixion – seen through the eyes of twelve Biblical characters. Each of these characters, had they acted differently might have had a profound effect on the Bible story. They are not all, however, the obvious characters we might expect.
The Holy Trinity church is undoubtedly a beautiful space, and a fitting location of course for the subject. We, the audience, sat in the pews and before us – in the quire of the church – lies the body of Christ beneath a shroud. Into this tomb comes first the innkeeper (the one who turned Mary and Joseph away), a nice sketch of a grumpy and obnoxious publican performed by Steve Andrews. Of all the characters presented here though, the innkeeper has the least to contribute. He is followed by Mary herself, in whom Sue-Claire Morris gives us an ordinary woman whose son has been taken from her; Elisabeth – the bitter and angry mother of John the Baptist – played by Jackie Pinder-White; and Christine Morgan as Martha – the pragmatist. So far, while the ideas of the characters are interesting, the delivery has seemed somewhat flat in this great space and interchanges between characters are disjointed.
Noelle Adler gives much more colour as the wife of Jairus, the Synagogue president, who could be straight from the pages of Mapp & Lucia. Her daughter is played by Paige Young who does suffer from a small voice in a big church but compensates with the passion she gives to a stroppy teen making a point.
Stephen Hackwell’s Joseph of Arimathea is charismatic but a bit limp. He is contrasted against, and brilliantly held to account by, the boy from Tiberias – the one with the loaves and fishes – played by Nathan Wakefield.
Following these, the Centurion at the Cross and Mary Magdalene (Ross Parsons and Victoria Woolsey) are again pretty standard and predicable interpretations. Entertaining but not particularly interesting.
Judas and Peter – played by James Cotter and Simon Blissett – enter together in the midst of a blazing row and passion returns to the stage. They are the characters you expect; Judas the defiant traitor and Peter wracked with guilt – but (and this may be down to volume in an echoy church) they fill the stage and we are caught up by their passion.
Musical and choral pieces were chosen with aplomb and greatly enhance the production – except perhaps the Mendelssohn, which is not a piece like.
The show is book-ended by verse narration, which is beautifully delivered by Chloe Hunter, Clemmie Donald and Jasmine Woolsey.
I’m not a church goer, and I think putting on a play of this nature and performing it in a church is a genuinely risky move for a modern company. Far more so than producing something wildly avant-garde. I applaud that, and am pleased to say they also make the story relevant and thought provoking. I’ll look out for more from Prior Commitment.

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