Friday, April 14, 2006

Manchester Passion

Manchester and passion are two words that sit quite well together. The music from Manchester’s fine pop heritage and the story of Easter are rather good bedfellows as well.

Albert Square is packed and the atmosphere is buzzing as this rather unique take on the passion play unfolds.

It really was rather good. A few naff bits aside (ie the interviews with people in the cross procession – “so you’re a punk and a Christian then?”), the play itself is really well executed. There’s even a few nice lighter touches, Anthony H Wilson chatting to Peter and the guy behind the hot dog stall (and provider of last supper barm) reads the Da Vinci code as Jesus ponders his fate at the counter.

Occasionally the lyrics needed a very slight twist to fit, but generally the music was used really effectively. The last supper accompanied by Love will Tear us Apart and Judas and Jesus facing each other at the moment of betrayal with Blue Monday were really moving. Tim Booth even just about rescued the slight comedy moment when everyone realised his regret filled Judas character was breaking into Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Know.

The ending however was what made it great. Truly spectacular live, I’m not sure the power of the moment translated as well to TV.

Having just described the tortuous means of death by crucifixion and having announced Jesus’ passing, Keith Allen appeared to wrap things up and it seemed things were ending on a Good Friday-esque down and anti-climatic note; suddenly a voice is heard singing out the classic Stone Roses line: “I am the resurrection and I am the light”. It takes the assembled crowd a second or two to work out where it’s coming from and then it spreads as face after face turns upwards and arms point. Right up on a balcony under the Town Hall clock face, the Jesus character has quite literally risen.

Quite a climax. Quite an event.

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