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Source: The Independent
Reviewed by Paul Taylor
When I heard about In the Beginning, a one-off show involving actors delivering chunks of the King James Bible, as a celebration the book's 400th anniversary in, of all places, Westminster Abbey, it struck me as just a little too un-counter-intuitive.
However, I had not reckoned on the fact that the begetter (in the Biblical sense) of this show is, rather surprisingly, the Bush Theatre. An established church – and the site of the coronation of all but two of our monarchs – is not the first place where you'd expect to find this radical (and mostly anti-establishment) fringe theater playing hookey. I wish I could say that a strange and striking chemical reaction occurred as a result of this meeting of seemingly incongruous elements. But the evening, while very enjoyable and (in one sense at least) always moving, was very slightly frustrating in its rather sedate restraint.
There was a welcome touch of dissonance as when Christopher Eccleston, clad like all the performers in smart-casual black subfusc, read from Exodus 9: 1-13 standing on front of the memorial to William Wilberforce, the great anti-slavery campaigner: "Let my people go, that they may serve me". Wilberforce was not as prone to favoritism as the Old Testament God of the Hebrew was in respect of oppressed peoples.
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