The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen Of Heaven (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen Of Heaven

Credit: Rod Penn

LGBTQI spin on religion at Summerhall

Celebrated playwright Jo Clifford starts the morning with a sermon. But this is no simple Christian prayer session, in spite of the accoutrements (votive candles, bread and wine, white robe) rather, a paean to 'the other' in society: the weak, oppressed, troubled and sick, through the rainbow prism of the LGBTQI community.

Clifford, herself a trans gender woman, delivers a show that is profound and moving, witty and filthy, a wake-up call to tolerance, love and acceptance with an intoxicating secular potency. She is defiant and beatific, delighted that people find her perverse.

It only strengthens her resolve to challenge their deep-seated prejudice. 'We disturb the sense of who they are.’ She plays fast and loose with the tenets of organised religion – paraphrasing prayers for queens everywhere – and perceived notions of the family unit: 'My daughter took me aside, and said, “Dad … you're going to be a grandma”. '

It takes an incredible strength of will to be so loving – even towards tax inspectors. But for the first time at the festival, many people in the audience (or congregation) are whispering 'Amen', amid strangers; touched and really meaning it, true believers of hope for change. A tender, thought-provoking piece of work.

Summerhall, 560 1581, until 30 Aug (not 17 & 18, 24 & 25), 10.45am, £12 (£10).

The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven

Jesus is reinvented as a transgender woman in this work written and performed by Jo Clifford.