Anywhere Festival draws together passionate, engaging and passionate theatre with unexpected locations that are anything but traditional theatre spaces. This is exactly what I found when I went to watch Being Jesus last night.
Performed in an under-used room at the top of level of the Boundary Hotel, Being Jesus was a hilarious, boozy and cringe-worthy romp through Jesus’ birthday party. I’ll admit that initially I thought the concept a little far-fetched and was sceptical about how well Delirium Comedy Group could work through their ideas. I needn’t have expressed any doubt.
The blurb told me that “after thousands of years Jesus tries to bring the family together for his Birthday, but everything seems to fall apart”. This was an understatement. Set among a small dedicated space with little props, the actors did an admirable job re-telling Jesus’ conception, life, death and his extraordinary after-life. The actor’s performances were tight and their thorough rehearsing was obvious. They delivered their comedic lines with great gusto and never missed a beat. Their delivery was also enhanced by a good use of lighting, sound effects and music.
An array of characters dived into the scene at various intervals, adding great variety and colour to the script. I found myself in the presence of Jesus, his overbearing mother, his hen-pecked step-father, a creepy old man version of God, the recovering evil addict Lucifer and – of course – Judas. I was surprised by how well-developed I found the characters: they provided all the elements of a great tale of family dysfunction. All though exaggerated to our benefit; I can imagine Birthday parties of similar acerbic tension occurring all over the World.
I also found the script thoroughly developed, however it would have benefitted from a little finessing. Unfortunately the play could have been tighter had Judas not been invited. This sub-plot felt unnecessary and dragged the narrative on a little too much. A sharper ending would have matched the initial dynamism and velocity of the word-play.
Overall, I commend the Delirium Comedy Group for an extremely well-worked performance that will stay in my mind for quite some time. Catch Being Jesus while you can.
Review by Ashleigh Wadman