Everyone knows the story of Jesus' life as told in the Gospels - and perhaps because it is so familiar, we have forgotten what an extraordinary life it was. Through these five plays, the story is pieced together as if from the memories of those who were there and saw events for themselves: Jesus' mother, Mary; his closest friends; the Jewish high priest; and the Roman governor.
They recount the events they witnessed as if they had happened just the other day - and the effect on their own lives. How James and John first encountered Jesus by the lake; the three astonishing years of his ministry; his trial and ignominious death; the wholly unexpected resurrection; and finally, his mother Mary looks back to his obscure birth and the portents that accompanied it. And so the tale regains some of its freshness and even shocking nature.
Each play is followed by a short interview feature, 'Witness: Behind Luke's Gospel', presented by Ernie Rea and examining the themes of Luke.
Featured are Tom Goodman-Hill as Jesus, Paul Hilton as Judas, Peter Firth as Peter, and Penelope Wilton as Mary.
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From the Jordan to Calvary
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to these five plays again. Not only are the scripts well-written, but the actors are phenomenal. (Penelope Wilton, Maxine Peake, Tom Goodman-Hill are gifted with such versatility, though all the cast members are good).
There are three sets of voices, a hierarchy, if you will: northern, posh, and American. At first it was a little distracting, but I soon got used to it. Interesting choices, to be sure!
You're sure to enjoy these stories based on the Gospel of Luke, and appreciate the way the plays bring Christ's ministry to life.
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Powerful Performance of Powerful Stories
Would you listen to Witness (Dramatised) again? Why?
Yes, I am listening to Witness for the second time. The writing and performance give these stories from Luke's gospel such a sense of reality and makes them come to life for me in a a very personal way.
The historical commentary that follows each play is also fascinating and enlightening.
I decided to listen to the stories again during Holy Week.
What about the narrators’s performance did you like?
I came across Witness when searching for something else narrated by Peter Firth (after listening to hem do Tess of the d'Ubervilles). His portrayal of Peter in Witness is superbly done. Satan's role is also well done.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Witness really brings the characters from Luke's gospel to life. I have found myself recommending this to several friends.
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- Amazon Customer
A unique but brilliant retelling of Luke's Gospel
Whenever I come across Christian audio dramas, they tend to be told from the perspective of the believer, often with a heavy handed unsubtle message and frankly less than professional performance. Not so here. Witness is told with the fresh perspective of the actual people who witnessed and were part of Jesus' life. The brilliant script and performances portray their sense of desire, fear and ultimately hope for Israel and the world, albeit in unexpected ways.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that the actors used colloqial British accents, giving it a more relevant feel for the intended UK audience. As an American, I thought it was an interesting choice to give the Romans American accents, particularly given their sense of being reluctant occupiers (probably an intentional choice). Jesis himself is portrayed in a down to earth, no nonsense way, and not the typical neat-deified manner of other productions. This Jesus is a man of the people, who talks like them and is as grounded to their concerns as he is to the Kingdom he came to announce.
The story is told in a way that really plays well to a radio broadcast, in some cases using audio techniques I've never heard before. As a broadcaster myself, I took especially delight in that. The score was also quite moving and emphasizes the weight and gravity of the Message being told.
The mini-feature at the end of each episode was nice, though they were clearly from an Anglican perspective (esp. the last episode). It would have been nice to hear voices from other denominations and faiths on the impact of Jesus' message in their beliefs. The most we get is a brief chat with a rabbi at the end of the first episode.
Overall, I really enjoyed this production and highly recommend it for anyone interested in viewing the life of Jesus in a new, compelling perspective.