A Passion for Birmingham

The Old Joint Stock Theatre Company

Birmingham

****

ONE of the greatest stories ever told is brilliantly retold as a contemporary drama by this talented company with a core of professional actors in a cast which also includes people from the local community.

It shows the final days of Jesus, but in the heart of modern day, post riots Birmingham, and the opening night audience were clearly deeply moved by the emotional and at times brutal scenes during the promenade-style production.

The story begins in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral then moves to ten different places in the famous Old Joint Stock pub and the nearby Wellington, with a new scene unfolding each time.

It means the audience, led by guides, need to climb numerous staircases and a fire escape and negotiate corridors, sometimes by torchlight, but it works perfectly, and the ‘crucifixion’ and killing of two other prisoners, in a dimly lit room, is gripping and heartbreaking.

Rich Stokes, in open-neck shirt, jeans and boots, is superb as ‘Jesus Davidson of Northfield’, and there are powerful performances from Harpreet Jhutty (Judas), Emma Swann (Mary), Alex Nikitas (Pilate), Shahid Chohan (Caiaphus) and Richard Nunn (head of security), while the rest of the multi cultural cast play their parts splendidly.

The last supper is staged in the Old Joint Stock’s theatre, and the drama closes inside the cathedral after a candlelight walk, with Rebecca Brookes leading the entire company singing We’ve Got Open Arms, by Elbow.

The play, written and devised by Tim Jeffries and the cast, and directed by Tracey Street, runs to 19.04.14

Paul Marston 

14-04-14

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