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New Era Players - The Passion

24th to 28th March 2014.

Review from the NWN.

Mixed feelings about The Passion

New Era Players in conjunction with St George's and St John's Churches: The Passion, at St John's Church, Newtown, from Monday, March 24 to Saturday, March 28

Taken from the medieval York Mystery Plays, poet Tony Harrison wrote The Passion in verse and it was performed to acclaim by the National Theatre in the 1970s. The action covers the baptism of Christ and entry into Jerusalem, through to the crucifixion.

This joint production by New Era Players, St George The Martyr Church, Wash Common, and St John the Evangelist Church, was performed at St John's for four nights.

The programme said that they tried to capture something of the community spirit that triggered these wonderful medieval plays 'which come to life in the vibrant and colourful verse of the Middle Ages'. A large ensemble cast worked hard to bring it all to life, but it was difficult to hear distinctly the words spoken by the actors.

On the credit side there was a good exchange of lesser passion by Pilate and Percula (Roger Follows and Georgie Gale). Terry Winrow was very good indeed as John the Baptist and a Knight, a bullying, callous foreman, forever showing off and ignoring other people's feelings.

Judas was nicely played by Peter Hendrickx and Peter by Christopher Alston. Clare Huckle was Mary, the Mother and Cathy Winrow played Mary Magdalene. Thomas Buckingham played Jesus.

This was a brave attempt to produce something worthy and both entertaining and enlightening, but I don't think modern dress relevant for such early atmospheric works as this and in my opinion the modern building site scenario just didn't work - it is difficult for even professional actors to attempt.

A closer study of the difficult text and more attention to detail might have improved the final result, together with more rehearsal and line study.