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The Sheffield Mysteries (Crucible Theatre)

Responding to the medieval mystery cycles, The Sheffield Mysteries offer a frank and funny celebration of the human spirit, with a distinctly Yorkshire flavour.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Bringing the Crucible Theatre season to a crescendo, Sheffield People's Theatre this week performed the world premiere of The Sheffield Mysteries.

The Sheffield Mysteries at the Crucible Theatre
© Mark Douet

Written by Chris Bush as part of Sheffield Theatre's new writing programme, the play is set in and around Sheffield and is a celebration of community spirit.

The show's director and Sheffield Theatre's artistic director Daniel Evans said of the project: "To have brought together such a talented company, some of whom have never acted on stage before and see what they have achieved, is incredible. It has been thrilling to be part of a project that resonates with a true sense of community."

The company brought energy, enthusiasm and passion to their performance. Most notable were the young musicians; playing an array of instruments including the double bass and the trumpet. Colourful costumes, angels gliding from the top of the stage, torch lights at every entrance to the theatre representing Sheffield's seven hills and atmospheric lighting resulted in well-polished staging.

The Sheffield Mysteries is a modern-day reworking of medieval mystery plays which were performed in locations such as York and Wakefield at this time of year. Every scene is a parody of a story from the Bible. Some of the references were easier to pick out than others.

The content is imaginative; from a pair of school children going to a nightclub and losing their virginity (Adam and Eve), a man with an A-Z shopping list preparing for an imminent flood (Noah's Ark), and a woman giving birth outdoors with nowhere to go (The Nativity), the narrative moves quickly and weaves through many different stories. Despite studying Religious Education at School I did not recognise all the stories until I read the programme.

It was particularly good to see a cast enjoying themselves so much on stage. The Sheffield People's Theatre did Sheffield proud and portrayed the vibrancy and diversity of the city.

The Sheffield Mysteries runs at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield until Saturday 19 July.

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