Review: Five Marys Waiting

Sunday, November 4, 2012
7:05 PM

“If the Lord is watching, the least we can do is be entertaining,” says one of the characters in Five Marys Waiting - and while I can’t speak for God, the audience definitely found them to be.

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This staged reading of a new play by David Banks dropped in to a meeting of five women in Jerusalem a decade after the death of Jesus, a gathering including Jesus’ mother, her sister, and Mary Magdalene.

This play is serious - the shadow of religious persecution hanging ever over it - but also surprisingly funny. While the dialogue occasionally lapses a little too much into reciting scripture, these are real women artfully drawn and portrayed.

It deals sensitively with the difference between Jesus as man and myth - the boy growing up, a mother’s son, a tempestuous hot headed rebel and the serene, peaceful and just fountainhead; the differences between those proselytising after the event, and those that knew him personally.

Susan Seddon gave a standout performance as Jesus’ mother; worldly-wise, honest and caring as she talked with Sally Camion-Jones’ hesitant serving girl. Ruth Grey was an illuminated Mary Magdalene (in this play at least a doctor, a neat inversion of the suggestion she “lived by her wits”), and Jen Dewsbury kept the humanity of the play strong with her cynical and wise-cracking role as Mary’s sister. Anna Patteson completed the quintet as the neurotic, borderline-fanatic Maria.

It is a thought-provoking and entertaining play, and Norwich was lucky to have its premiere.

1 comment

  • As author of this play, I'm impressed and more than pleased with this reviewer's lucid and sympathetic description of it. Just one thing. There should be no apostrophe anywhere in the title.

    Report this comment

    David Banks

    Monday, November 5, 2012

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