A PASSION FOR BIRMINGHAM
Produced by The Old Joint Stock Theatre
Indoor and Outdoor Promenade.
Runs approx 1h 45m. No interval. till 19 April
Old Joint Stock: 0121 200 0946
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 15 April 2014
And now for something different about something not too different.
York and Coventry have their play cycles, and Oberammergau has a little show of its own. So why shouldn’t Birmingham have one? Birmingham’s premier pub theatre and a creative and energetic team have decided it should. So a cast of around 30 take us through the Easter Passion on a spiritual and physical journey.
The Birmingham we know came into being as the result of industry – some heavy and some delicate. But it’s down-to-earth and no-nonsense. The OJS’s PASSION reflects these qualities; the familiar story is translated to modern day with an opening platform speech from Pilate, standing for re-election on a manifesto of law and order and explaining the need for recent curfews. Jesus speaks for freedom from tyranny – and, as we know, will suffer for it.
The play moves from the Cathedral grounds to the Old Joint Stock – every nook, cranny, cubby hole and staircase is inventively used in this promenade production. Even a room in a friendly neighbouring pub is used (Pilate’s campaign office.)
There is a clever and chilling twist to the crucifixion itself – and OJS’s Jesus won’t suffer the same injury as The Archers’ Jesus has done, though he may be in danger of others. Gloriously the play moves from the gloom on this scene to the bright sunshine of the Cathedral Square for the Resurrection (I saw it on a lovely sunny afternoon.) It concludes, appropriately and movingly inside the Cathedral, St Philip’s, as the entire company join in a concluding song. And as they sing – a bonus; a view of one of Birmingham’s treasures, Burne-Jones’s stained glass windows – what could be more magical?
Genuinely committed work from the entire company lends the play great truth. And most powerful of all, within the context of this Christian story, a great multi-cultural company joining as one in a powerful cross-cultural message that can’t be spoken too often. Yes, Birmingham knows how to do it!
Jesus: Richard Stokes (Mon 6:30pm, Tues, Wed 8:30pm, Fri 8:30pm, Sat 1pm) Seabert Henry (Mon 8:30, Wed 6:30pm, Thurs, Sat 6:30pm & 8:30pm)
Peter: Benjamin Thorne
Judas :Harpreet Jhutty
Mary: Emma Swann
Thomas: Daniel Thomas
Amy: Sarah Lamb
John: Seabert Henry & Richard Stokes
Pilate: Alex Nikitas
Caiaphas: Shahid Chohan
Priest: Marcus John Markowski
Priest: Joseph Ashley Simms (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat) Stephen Green (Tues/Thurs)
Head of Security: Richard Nunn
Guides: Stephen Green Chanelle Shea-Calvin Gavin Young
Ensemble: Deepa Bose Krishna Kant Linda Cooke Chiara Margiotta Stuart Found Lorna Meehan Theodore Griffiths Lyle Mitchell Michaela Hinton Matt Nunn
Musicians Rebecca Doyle Rich Stokes Rob Lane Alex Vann Rich MaMahon
Directed by Tracey Street
Written and devised by Tim Jefferies, Tracey Street and the cast
Fight Choreographer Mike Bower
Technical Manager Andrew Mawson
Stage Manager Cherelle Coleman
Assistant Stage Managers Alex Nankivell, Oscar Turner, Sarah Phillips