The Mysteries

How can the mysteries of the faith be expressed o­n stage or film? Mel Gibson?s rather gory answer to this question is currently to be seen in cinemas across the land but for a more thoughtful and more fun version of the Passion with plenty of other biblical stories thrown in, take a look at the South African production of The Mysteries which is now available o­n DVD and Video.

This retelling of the Chester Mystery cycle uses a multiracial, multilingual South African cast to present a colourful, choral stage production. The origins of the cast are used to the full ? A Xhosa speaking Mary greets her Afrikaans cousin Elizabeth, Jesus is black and speaks Zulu to a white English-speaking betrayer, and the woman caught in adultery is saved from a township necklacing. The cast of 40 weave African rhythms and majestic choral singing around familiar stories which are told with great energy and verve. Particularly noteworthy are the creation of Adam, Noah?s tale ? complete with a comic interlude whilst he tries to persuade Mrs Noah to get o­n board ? and the crucifixion. In an interesting theological statement, God the Creator and Jesus are both played by the same actor Vumile Nomanyama who is outstanding.

That the experience is readily accessible, despite being in English, Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans is testament to the ingenuity of both cast and production. This is a film record of a stage production which first appeared at Wilton?s Music Hall in London. It was filmed for the BBC by Heritage Theatre Video Productions. This video would make an ideal resource for many church groups to use during Holy Week.

This is the greatest story ever told and this version is the greatest dramatic telling you are ever likely to see.

The Mysteries is available o­n DVD (?19.99) and Video (?16.99) from good record/video shops as well as being available to order o­nline from


  1. Anonymous says

    Re: The Mysteries
    I would have to agree, this is an excellent performance.  Quite unique.  Are we to see it again this year or do you have something else up your sleeve? Perhaps something for the children as well

    Gonna reserve judgement o­n Mel though as I haven't seen it yet!

  2. Anonymous says

    Re: The Mysteries
    Yes, I was thinking of showing another film during holy week. I’m open to suggestions, though I do have one or two ideas already.

    This review has been submitted to the Episcopalian for publication, hopefully in the April edition.

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