George Dillon presents a vision of Jesus in his highly-intense, human and occasionally-humorous performance of The Gospel Of Matthew at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on Tuesday, April 12.
Inspired by an encounter with Bob Geldof at Euston Station and created in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Dillon’s show is his own delivery of his own translation of the Gospel.
It portrays Jesus not as a gentle, meek and mild lamb to the slaughter but as a contemporary raging fighter for God - an angry Jesus - a Christ who is angry at humanity but also human in his anger.
“I was sitting on the concourse of Euston Station in the mid-80s”, recalls George. “It was about a year or two after the original Live Aid, and I heard this (drunk, slurred) voice shouting ‘Aid To Africa, St Bob’ - and I looked up and saw Bob Geldof walking across the concourse.
“He had his cowboy hat on and a drunk had spotted him and was shouting out his presence. I looked up and saw him.
“I was reading the Bible at the time, and I was reading the scene where Jesus is clearing out the temple - and there I saw St Bob.
“Two pennies dropped. One was simply that I wanted to get up and follow him. I didn’t want to go on on my own journey any more. I wanted to go where he was going. It was that impulse to go after the Holy Man.
“The other thing that made an instant connection was the way that Bob Geldof had appealed for money - ‘give us your ******* money!’, that anger in the appeal, and that suddenly made sense of the way that Jesus had behaved in the temple. He was not gentle Jesus, meek and mild. He was a very angry figure, and just seeing Bob Geldof made that penny drop. That character came out clearly and it was something that I wanted to capture and portray.
“Why I was sitting on Euston concourse reading the Bible was that I had always been interested in theatre that addresses the human soul, not necessarily religious theatre. But I felt that the Bible was an obvious source of material, and I kept on asking myself why one or more dramatists didn’t tackle something as big as the Gospels. It’s the central myth, the defining story that has dictated Western morality for two millennia. It became a defining question for me.”
Tickets on 01483 440000.