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St Peter’s Cathedral, Tue 7 Mar.
Justin Butcher is a riveting performer. His eloquence and ability to match physical expression with the emotional content of the spoken text is second to none; the fact that he is the sole author and performer of The Devils’s Passion is a monumental achievement.
The Devil’s Passion is set against a backdrop of contemporary terrorism where we are reminded that there is a battle going on between ourselves and those who seek to destroy our way of life. The play then moves on to recount ‘the greatest story ever told’ – the passion of Christ – but from Satan’s viewpoint.
Satan’s point of view is, not surprisingly, quite jaundiced. He pokes fun at the whole idea of communion (drinking the body and blood of Christ), and gleefully tells of the moment he decided to take over Judas’s soul and convince him to betray his master.
The play features many key moments from the story of Christ – the temptation in the desert, the fraternising with women of ill repute, his anger at those who turned the temple into a market place, The Last Supper, and Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Butcher has tried to make it relevant for a modern audience. In this version Christ is the terrorist spreading dangerous ideas and who must be defeated. It’s an intriguing twist.
Butcher is always wonderful to watch and listen to but as good it was, it is ultimately just another retelling of a tired old story.
A word of advice – go early and sit close to the front. Beyond about ten rows back it was very hard to catch all of the dialogue, and with a demanding piece like The Devil’s Passion that is a huge disadvantage.
The Devil’s Passion continues at St Peter’s Cathedral from 8pm until Sun 11 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.