Red Letter Jesus – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

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As a bonus show for Theatre in the Square’s 30th Anniversary Season, Brad Sherrill presents Red Letter Jesus, a one-man dramatic presentation adapted from the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

This isn’t Brad Sherrill’s first time tangling with Biblical text in dramatic form. He has also performed The Gospel of John over 600 times across the country, the U.K. and Canada—from churches to professional theaters. He also presented an adaptation of the texts of Isaiah and Jeremiah in a production entitled Prophets, produced by Georgia Shakespeare.

In Red Letter Jesus, the audience is taken through Jesus’ life, using only his words as recorded in the Gospels. To aid in the narrative, a beautifully crafted multimedia presentation is used behind the actor, including images and video intended to move the journey along in ways that the red letters of the Biblical text cannot.

Red Letter Jesus is performed on the Alley Stage of Marietta’s Theatre in the Square. If you have never been to a black box style theatrical performance, this would be a good place to start. The space is small and intimate, and the separation between performer and audience is minimal. Instead of simply secluded observers, the audience becomes the crowd surrounding Jesus, as well as the objects of his ministry, parables and trials.

For those accustomed to traditional plays, both the Alley Stage and Red Letter Jesus provide some growing room for a casual theatre-goer. The show is presented as one 95-minute act with no intermission. One cannot sneak quietly out the back doors. To attend a black box performance such as this, the audience becomes a very fluid part of the theater experience. But under the direction of Vincent Murphy, the dramatic effect is rewarding, and stage manager Mark Hickman—whose videography appears in the multimedia presentation—adds depth and color to the visual production.

Brad Sherrill is passionate in his portrayal of Jesus. At times soft and inviting, at others authoritative and commanding, he gives the audience a full spectrum of the many emotions carried through Jesus’ words, from his first sentence spoken as a youth at the Temple until his last parting words to his followers.

Performances run February 8  to March 10 on the Alley Stage at Theatre in the Square in Marietta. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theatreinthesquare.com or by calling the box office at 770-422-8369.

– Christi Whitney