Friday, April 14, 2006

Manchester Passion

On BBC3 tonight is a fascinating looking experiment entitled The Manchester Passion
This year BBC Television is marking Easter with a major musical event.

The Manchester Passion will take place on Good Friday (14th April) and will be shown live on BBC Three from 9pm.

The Manchester Passion will retell the last days of Jesus' life using popular music from the cream of Manchester bands, including M People, New Order, The Smiths, Oasis and James. The songs will be given a vibrant new twist and be performed by the characters in the story accompanied by a 16-piece orchestra.
I suppose one's enthusiasm about the idea will depend on whether you like the Smiths, James, the Stone Roses and the like, and luckily enough I am a big fan of most of those. I love the thought of the resurrection being enacted to The Stone Roses' "I am the Resurrection and I am the life . . ." and I am looking forward to seeing it. It's been in the British Good Friday news today, including five minute feature on the lunchtime BBC1 news. Here are the details on the BBC Religion and Ethics pages:

The Manchester Passion

The video trailer is not working on that page at the moment, though. Here's the BBC3 page on it:

Manchester Passion -- Information Line

The cast includes Keith Allen as presenter, Darren Morfitt as Jesus and a mean looking Tim Booth (ex of James) as Judas. I once saw James, at the Reading Festival in about 1991, and Booth had a lot more hair then. Apparently Bez (of the Happy Mondays and last year's Celebrity Big Brother) was due to do a cameo as Barabbas but has dropped out. There are details on the cast and songs included here, including the following list:
* Jesus sings You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side (Morrissey)
* Mary sings Cast No Shadow (Oasis)
* Jesus sings Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division) at the Last Supper
* Mary sings Search For A Hero (M People)
* Judas sings Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (The Smiths) as he is about to betray Jesus
* Jesus sings Sit Down (James) to the sleeping disciples
* Jesus and Judas sing Blue Monday (New Order)
* Peter sings I Am The Resurrection (The Stone Roses) when he betrays Jesus
* Mary sings Angels (Robbie Williams)
* Jesus and Pontius Pilate sing Wonderwall (Oasis)
* Mary sings Sunshine After The Rain (Elkie Brooks)
Here is a BBC News item on this:

Manchester Re-enacts Crucifixion
Manchester Passion is a contemporary retelling of the last hours of Jesus's life through the city's musical output.

Actors will carry an eight-metre luminous cross through the streets to Albert Square, where the passion play will be performed.

The BBC Three event aims to attract "people that never go to church".


Steven Harris said...

It hasn't quite finished yet but I have to say I had my reservations about the whole thing but it actually worked very well and the city centre was packed out.

Some of the songs were a rather tenuous link with the subject matter (Jesus and Judas singing 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was a bit odd) but on the whole it was (is) quite an impressive spectacle.

Billy V said...

I love the prospect of using pop music to build a bridge to the gospel. I am familiar with about half of the songs. I will have to familiarize myself with the other half. Much like Paul at the Areopagus perhaps?

Matt Page said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt Page said...

FWIW, my review is now up.