Rarely does a work come along that can only be described as perfect, but this production of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven can only be defined as a remarkably perfect work of theatre.
Jo Clifford’s text is transcendent – incorporating religious text with Queer dramaturgy with genius results. With seemingly simple changes, centuries old stories are breathed with new life and gospels that may have once held perceived prejudice, glow with inclusion and warmth.
Kristen Smyth is astonishing in the lead role, float through each moment and phrase with grace and poise. Smyth has such an innate connection to the work and world, that the audience feels held in the arms of a caring friend or loved one.
Smyth is accompanied by a wonderfully talented choir who melodiously guide the work from sermon to sermon, giving Smyth’s parishioners and opportunity to soak in the gospels and take up the charge for change.
Kitan Petkovski masterfully directs the work – guiding the story with delicate subtlety and sure footed purpose. Petkovski’s influence can be seen in the smallest moment to the overarching drive of the work – there is not a moment that is not considered, respected and given revinance.
This particular production of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven must be given an opportunity to be restaged and reach wider audiences. During a time when many arts organisations and venues preach inclusivity, this work is an opportunity to step up, add action to their words and progeram this Queer work that has the real potential to change hearts and minds.
The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Performance: Tuesday 4 May 2021
Season: 1 – 8 May 2021 (ended)
Image: Kristen Smyth – photo by Sarah Walker
Review: Gavin Roach