Wirksworth Community Theatre’s production, Heaven, Hell and Everything Else, took an audience of more than 300 over three nights on a journey from the Garden of Eden to harrowing images of thousands of desperate refugees fleeing from their war torn homes.
Running from April 14-16, the show was derived from the first part of the Lichfield Cycle of Mystery Plays, which originates in the middle Ages.
Directors Mike and Helen Knott gave the Old Testament stories a modern feel by using strobe lighting and back projections of the flames of Hell, the Creation and Noah’s flood, while the music ranged from Kyrie eleison to a sing-along version of Rod Stewart’s Sailing.
Each play was given its own distinctive treatment. The story of Adam and Eve was told predominantly through dance, a bold decision, vindicated by the expressive and skilful performances of the four players, Kevin Doxey, Eve Murray, Tim Taylor and Tricia Durdey.
Graham Sellors made a memorable Noah, in turns bewildered, avuncular and determined. The story of the Flood, with its cut out ark and drunken gossips, exhibited the knock about humour which is characteristic of the Mystery Plays. In the tale of Abraham and Isaac, the look of hurt and reproach on the face of young Erin Rowlatt (Isaac) as Abraham walked away, was one of the highlights of the evening.
In the final section Alan Kingston as Moses gave a bravura rendition of the song “Go down Moses” with its haunting refrain “let my people go”. As his voice echoed round the church, the screens filled with images of refugees through the ages, ending with those in desperate need, in our own time.
As the song ended, the entire, wonderful cast, shuffled on to the stage in the guise of modern day refugees. It was a powerful and moving conclusion to a memorable evening.
An audience collection of more than £600 will be distributed among various charities providing front line support for refugees.
by Chris Thompson