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The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - St Leonard’s Church

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ANTONY Law Ltd is presenting The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, by Stephen Adly Giurgis, at St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch – from April 17 to May 19, 2013.

A cast of 14 stage history’s most infamous betrayal in the atmospheric setting of London’s original actor’s church, where Burbage lies buried in the grounds.

First directed and performed by esteemed American film and stage actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman and LAByrinth Theatre Company in New York, this intoxicating mix of love, betrayal, forgiveness and hope brings together testimonies from famed characters as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Mary Magdalene, Pontius Pilate, Mother Teresa and Satan.

Antony Law directs a cast that includes Michael Aguilo (as El Fayoumy), Laurence Bouvard (Fabiana Aziza Cunningham), Tom Greaves (Jesus), Priyank Morjaria (Judas Iscariot), Antony Law (Butch Honeywell), Peter Marinker (Judge Littlefield/Caiaphas the Elder), Earl R Perkins (Matthew/Bailiff/Zealot), Maggie Robson (Henrietta Iscariot), Shereen Russell (Saint Monica), Kathy Trevelyan (Gloria/Mother Teresa), Lawrence Werber (Peter/Pilate) and Christopher Wolert (Thomas/Freud/Matthias).

The roles of Mary Magdalene/Sister Glenna/Loretta and Satan have yet to be confirmed.

St Leonard’s Church provides the perfect setting for this comic drama with a legacy stretching back to the very origins of performance. The church houses the crypt that Shakespeare originally envisaged for Romeo and Juliet’s demise. The audience will be divided by traverse style seating and will encounter an over-sized courtroom set, including an eight foot high desk and chair.

Set in the business end of Purgatory, in a small town called Hope, this is not the imagined world of clouds and white waiting rooms, but a place of ruthless litigation where troubled souls wait to be permanently assigned to either heaven or hell.

Director Antony Law said: “My motivation for directing The Last Days of Judas Iscariot came from the moment I first read it in Foyles: the beauty of the writing, and the ideas and premise of the play. There are many modern parallels and current issues raised in the work. For example, what makes us make decisions? Who is left with the consequences?”

Antony Law’s directing credits include Road and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Cockpit Theatre), Matilda and Mike and Dan (Pleasance Theatre) and Bouncers (Leicester Square Theatre). He has also directed a number of Dennis Kelly plays – Love and Money, Taking Care of Baby, Debris and DNA – and Howard Barker works – Scenes from an Execution, Victory and A Hard Heart.

As an actor, his credits include Hurts Given and Received (Riverside Studios), Find Me (Etcetra Theatre) and Pulling (Edinburgh Festival Fringe and national tour). His film appearances include Gulliver’s Travels and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd.

American playwright, screenwriter, director and actor Stephen Adly Guirgis’ plays have been performed on five continents and throughout the United States. Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and The Little Flower of East Orange were all produced by LAByrinth Theatre Company and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, which received its world premiere in 2005 at New York’s Public Theater, received its European premiere in 2008, directed by Olivier Award winning director Rupert Goold at the Almeida Theatre.

Tickets: £12 – £18 – available from the Soho Theatre box office on 020 7478 0100 or online at www.sohotheatre.com/.

Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Saturday matinee at 2.30pm; Sunday at 3pm (post show talks will follow every Sunday performance).