Angel Cruz is standing trial for shooting the Reverend Kim in the ass; Reverend Kim later died. Lucius Jenkins is on appeal, trying to avoid the death penalty for the murder of eight people. For one hour each day, both men share adjacent cages on Rikers Island, New York’s top security prison. Then one day they get talking.
Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train is a funny, powerful, adrenaline-fuelled drama of good and evil, penalty and redemption, by award-winning American playwright Stephen Adley Giurgis (The Motherfucker With The Hat, National Theatre and The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida).
★★★★★ “The play doesn’t shy away from the big questions – all dealt with superbly in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s fantastic, pacy script… This is a big play – and played in the HOME studio space has an intimacy that makes it even more affecting… [An] extraordinary script and flawless performances.” – The Reviews Hub
“[Danny] Solomon is superb as Angel, communicating his tortured mind and morality vividly… [Alice Bryony] Frankham also is totally convincing as the lawyer with a talent and a mission… The production has many highlights, and no shortage of humour… A lively interpretation of a play that hasn’t been seen in the region before with some interesting things to say.” – British Theatre Guide
“Director Jake Murray exploits the underlying violence in the muscular script to build the tension between the characters… The production is heavily dependent upon the quality of the cast and the performances are strong… Feels like a throwback to the days when authors were willing to raise complex questions and avoid glib answers.” – Manchester Theatre Awards
“This is a performance that suddenly and surprisingly pushes the audience through the emotional barriers surrounding violent crime to instead rouse a much deeper contemplation of the forces that shaped the actions in the first place.” – The Greater Manchester Reviewer
“This is one of the best studio pieces that I have seen at HOME… It has cracking dialogue and performances that stay with you, as well as a premise which makes you question your own values.” – Canal Street
“The acting here is excellent… On the strength of the performances, I cannot help but recommend Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, but be sure to take your patience with you!” – Upstaged Manchester
“A pulsating drama by a promising new playwright which goes to the heart of the big questions about morality, life, hope and redemption in the darkest of settings… Shocking, powerful and darkly funny.” – Frankly My Dear
“Even after only two productions Elysium Theatre Company are already a force to reckon with… A sensibly directed (Jake Murray) piece of thought-provoking theatre which, despite the American-ness of the play, still resonated and challenged with not a weak link in the chain nor a chink in the armour. Solid, secure, and quite excellent.” – Reviewer Number 9
“Elysium Theatre deserve much credit for bringing Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train to Manchester for the first time… It’s a tight, well-paced and thoughtful staging that lets Giurgis’ smart, searching play shine.” – Circles & Stalls
“A startling and provocative take on this powerful play about moral responsibility and the American penal system… An excellent piece of theatre.” Live Art Alive
“Elysium Theatre Company delivers a punchy, poignant, and darkly funny portrayal of Steven Adly Guirgis’ thought-provoking dark comedy… A provocative, funny, and captivating piece of theatre.” – Mancunion
“The dialogue is pacey, raw, profane, often hilarious and very, very sharp… A riveting watch… Elysium Theatre Company’s mission is ‘to bring the best of world theatre to the North.’ This is obviously a worthy ambition – and, judging by this exhilarating and highly accomplished production, they are well on the way to achieving it.” – Unrestricted Views
“Stephen Adly Guirgis’s script has a rattling rhythm… Definitely a play to catch before it departs from HOME.” – Weekend Notes