O Evangelho Segundo Jesus, Rainha Do Ceu
- Lorna Irvine
- 4 November 2019
Moving adaptation of Jesus, Queen of Heaven
This production is a prayer; a poem, a sashay, a strut and an anthem. The Brazilian version of Jo Clifford's gorgeously lyrical Jesus, Queen of Heaven – here celebrating its tenth anniversary – translated and directed by Natalia Mallo, reimagines Christ as a sassy transgender woman, first in business suit, then glamorous sequinned club dress.
Mallo's Portuguese translation of the beautiful script is given new life by Renata Carvalho, a charismatic actor exploring the multiplicity of trans communities: from Brazilian 'travesti', to the indigenous two-spirit people of North America. She's incredible, like an Almodovar heroine, an endlessly mesmerising presence who ad-libs flawlessly and brings booty shakes and wide-eyed mischief to the space.
Carvalho's body is at times animalistic, always watchful in the shadows; imperious as she returns like the prodigal daughter to her family. She moves in feline strides, tender and playful as a kitten, but claws sharpened and primed when necessary. But Carvalho's perfectly manicured fingernails are holding on to the cliff edge for dear life. She explores how the othering of trans people leads to living in fear of violence and murder, and the implicit misogyny of transphobic attacks on trans women.
Tucked into the play's seams is a passionate plea for love and empathy for all, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexuality or class. Candles are lit, hands held and bread and wine shared.
Performing the play in certain places (Brazil, under new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro) has become too dangerous. O Evangelho is a gentle, poignant reminder of progress made, and how much further there is to go.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, run ended.