Versatile actor’s solo tour-de-force

The Gospel Of Matthew

The Capitol, Horsham, Wednesday, March 27

How many actors could play Hamlet, Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, a disaffected actor and the writer (debated by scholars I understand) of Matthew’s gospel?

Since the mid 1990’s, I have watched George Dillon play all these roles with equal conviction and success.

Having endured indoctrination in a Catholic primary school, I’ll freely admit I haven’t opened a bible often in the past 40 years.

Listening to George Dillon, you hear Matthew’s gospel fresh and unadorned.

His Jesus is witty, charismatic, intense and uncompromising so that it didn’t seem surprising that the fishermen simply abandoned their nets and followed him.

Likewise, his message to the rich man, the abused, the sick and the judgemental was stark.

Like Jesus, they must submit to the will of god and accept the command, made famous in the Leonard Cohen song, ‘If it be they will’.

The production is much enhanced by simple haunting guitar music and lighting effects.

Behind Dillon, a video provided historic context and grim reminders from the holocaust to the present that humankind has yet to be redeemed by any kind of faith.

In his book ‘The Year of the King’, about playing Richard III, Sir Antony Sher wrote that he would never again mock audience members who asked how he managed to “learn all those lines”, as he found it a such a struggle. Dillon performed this solo tour de force without a single glitch I could detect for well over an hour.

His vocal skills are formidable. His movement – informed by his practice of the Japanese martial art of kendo – is compelling.

Since my last visit some time ago, Horsham’s Capitol has been transformed and its art deco facade has spawned a spacious glass foyer and bar. The beautiful auditorium is a pleasure to visit.

I am pleased to see that The Gospel of Matthew has already sold out in Scarborough.

For anybody – of any faith or none – who enjoys seeing a consummate performer strut their stuff, this is a must.

By Jacky Hilary