The Jesus Conspiracy

Burjesta Theatre
Showing at The Casa
April 12th, 13th, 15th, 19th and 20th

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

Billed as a new take on a old story, Peter Burtons play is somewhat controversial in the way it explores the text of the new testament. The warning on the flyer that contents of a sexual nature, nudity and violence should be expected only serves to intrigue me to see how the oldest story has been reworked.

Covering almost a hundred years in history; from John the Baptist to the last Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire in Masada in 73 AD, the aim of the play to give a more realistic interpretation of events surrounding Jesus’ life and death. They depict him as a sexually active man with Mary Magdalene as his wife with a child between them. The exploration of the sidelining of women in Christianity is shown by portraying a feminist Mary Magdalene choosing her own future, separate to the Disciples. Saint Paul’s damascene conversion was also given a new twist along with the Disciples who were given agendas of their own.

The writing of the play was clever and thought provoking, but I feel it was let down by an amateur cast. I have long been a promoter of Liverpool’s lesser known theatres and normally I am a fan of amateur productions for their rawness and unpolished beauty, but failing to remember lines and getting lines mixed up is always going to ruin a play. I felt the uncertainty of some of the cast overshadowed a wonderfully written play. The cast members that shone were Rachel Boothroyd, who played Mary Magdalene and Julian Bond who played Peter, both of these really stood out from the rest due to their commitment in their respective roles and the certainty and confidence in their performances. Overall an enjoyable play which led to much discussion afterwards, definitely one for anyone who has ever wondered if the ‘greatest story ever told’ really happened like that!

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