Review: Judas (Brighton Fringe)

In this digital show at the Brighton Fringe, Judas (yes, that one) is a YouTuber, and he’s hit the right number of subscribers to spill what really happened. Written and perforrmed by BeeJay Aubertin-Clinton, this is the tale of an “insanely hot” Jesus and a devoted apostle.

This is a brave piece of satire taking on the issue of religion and gay identity and givng it a good shake. I love how the apostles are referrred to as entrees, side dishees, and garnish. It’s true – how many of those twelve can you name without opening your Bible (or, more likely, checking on Wikipedia)?

A one-person show which keeps the momentum going, tweaks out the laughs, and turns up the drama, Judas is surprisingly likeable, and despite the artwork behind our narrator, and lines like “if you think our homebody didn’t get his d–k wet”, it does not seek to offend. Instead, it gives a private look into the relationship between Jesus, the Saviour, and his closest disciple, Judas.

In looking back over the thousands of years since Judas took his thirty pieces of silver and betrayed Jesus in that garden of Gethsemane, it is clear that Aubertin-Clinton sees the story as hugely personal, yet appropriated by many others in the name of religious fervour. His Jesus is a man who has brought love to the world. Judas fell for the man, and saw through the myth and the miracles.

So, this is “not your mother’s Bible story”, and Judas might not be that reliable (what is Hey Jude really about?), but this character is in-your-face throughout this piece, definitely taking aim at Christian Conservatives across the pond, and clearly celebrating all those diverse people created in God’s own image.

“When your shoulders are wide enough to take on the troubles of the world, feeling small is a blessing”. This is a rational yet controversial view of the Messiah, and of his successors, good people who were also murdered by the mob. You may recall Tim Rice’s lyrics in Jesus Christ Superstar, which also focuses on the relationship between Jesus and Judas: “he’s a man, he’s just a man, he is not a king, he’s just the same as anyone I know”.

This play is a little overlong, and not every moment is completely successful, but overall this is an interesting and perceptive addition to the stories we all knew from the Bible; a fictional one, for sure, but one which gives you an intelligent and quirky insight into that Last Supper and those at the table. Except for those dismissed as “garnish”, that is.

Fringe rating: ****

Judas is streamed at the Living Record as part of the Brighton Fringe until 27 June. Book your ticket here (£8).