Terrence Mcnally’s 1997 play Corpus Christi continues to shock and surprise in this latest production superbly directed by Nick Connaughton featuring the Arcola Queer Collective.
The cast is drawn from the LGBTQ+ community with issues like gender being largely irrelevant in this production that is performed with a heartfelt integrity. There are moments that are hugely moving with all of the cast really going where they need to. This is the life story of Jesus Christ and how he meets his ‘gang’ of the 12 disciples. The action moves from the Holy Land to rural Texas with the emphasis on Joshua and his mainly gay friends. They have been radicalised by where they live and what has happened to them including bullying, homophobia and abuse. The play doesn’t fail to be provocative, highlighting the effects and power of religion and unquestioning faith. During the play each character cleverly reveals themselves and their association with Jesus to the audience. The mood is lightened with comical sequences including the re-enactment of the last supper and a marvellous nod to the instantly recognisable Da Vinci masterpiece. This is good theatre, modern and thrilling to watch. Harrowing in places, yes, but expertly executed.