The Information on `The Mysteries'

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The Independent Culture
What Is It?

The return of Bill Bryden's powerful three-part, six-hour promenade version of The Mysteries, which runs from The Creation to the Last Judgment. The defiantly Northern production features thumping, alliterative verse by Tony Harrison.

Who's In It?

An excellent 20-strong cast includes Sue Johnstone in a variety of roles from Noah's wife to bereaved Mary, Jack Shepherd as Lucifer, Judas and Satan, David Bradley as God, and Joe Duttine as Jesus.

What They Say About It

"Presenting the cosmos as a sort of Northern theme park overhung with twinkling working-class ironmongery for stars and with frescoed trade union banners as its equivalent of a Sistine ceiling, the production often comes close to feeling fake, Brassed Off meets the Bible... The intention behind the event is to make people imaginatively identify with what it must have been like to believe. Again, though, I wonder to what extent its makers are fooling themselves here," Paul Taylor, The Independent.

"Even at the end of a 12-hour day, [it] leaves us exhilarated... partly because of the alliterative vigour of Tony Harrison's poetry, partly because of the air of communal celebration, but even more because the event taps into our residual memories of both the Christian story and of vibrant working-class culture," Michael Billington, The Guardian.

"A moving, deeply satisfying event," Nick Curtis, Evening Standard.

Where You Can See It

The Mysteries is in rep at the Cottesloe, National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-452 3000); booking to 30 Apr