THE DEVIL’S PASSION or Easter in Hell | LONDON, ITALY & MALTA – March 2024

Feb 23, 2024 | General, Members news, News

Passion Pit Theatre, in association with J.Productions, Milan – with the patronage of The British Chamber of Commerce for Italy presents

THE DEVIL’S PASSION or Easter in Hell

The greatest story of all, the Passion of Christ told from Satan’s perspective and set against a contemporary ‘War on Terror’ backdrop

written & performed by Justin Butcher directed by Guy Masterson-Mastroianni
designed by Sean Cavanagh music & sound by Jack C. Arnold
lighting design by Tom Turner video design by Damian Hale & Christian Krupa

One of the most amazing evenings Ive spent in the theatre. David Suchet
 Radical and provocative: a devilishly clever retelling of the Easter Story.Mark Lawson, The Tablet

… Within the next hour, our operatives will isolate, engage and capture or kill the notorious leader of the most extreme, dangerous and contagious ideology to emerge in the modern era, whose terror activities represent the gravest threat to our interests across the region and the wider world. I refer, of course, to the radical preacher and populist demagogue Yshua Bar Yessuf, the man known – by way of shorthand to our operatives – as Jesus” …

The Devil’s Passion, by award-winning playwright and actor Justin Butcher, tells the greatest story of all, the Passion of Christ told from Satan’s perspective. It offers a radically fresh perspective on the timeless narrative, an audacious hell’s-eye view, by turns comic, gripping, poetic and heart-stirring. Exploring themes of good and evil, religious extremism, freedom, rebellion, life, death, and much more, The Devil’s Passion is both timeless and strikingly modern, an original and riveting production shining a new light on the Easter story.

Framed satirically against a contemporary ‘War on Terror’ backdrop, this 90-minute one-man show tears open key issues of our time: the Annunciation is depicted as the ‘radicalisation’ of a 15-year old schoolgirl, through whom ‘the Enemy enters in’; Satan’s battle is waged in defence of the ‘gates’ of ‘our civilisation’ against the ‘enemies of freedom’; through an Occupied Palestine bristling with checkpoints, walls, razor-wire fences and watchtowers, Jesus heads to Jerusalem on a ‘suicide mission’. Finally discerning Jesus’ plan – to die, to assault the gates of hell itself – Satan enlists the audience to join him in averting disaster. He must do all he can to keep Jesus alive or risk being destroyed.

Part espionage thriller, part satire, part poetic meditation – Homeland meets Mistero Buffo meets Dante’s Infernoset in a ‘Holy Land’ characterised by harsh divisions, barriers, walls, alienation – between hated Roman occupier and indigenous peoples, between Jew and Samaritan, clean and unclean, slave and free, ‘righteous’ and ‘sinner’, everyone imprisoned tidily in their boxes – a state of affairs which the diabolical narrator finds entirely satisfactory. Until, right from the heart of this suffocating, intractable scenario, the Passion story erupts. A radical, transgressive story of love transcending fear and hatred, of non-violence in the face of oppression, hope breaking down barriers, the victory of vulnerability.

Justin Butcher writes, Sometimes the timing of things can feel weird, even fated. A few years ago, I attempted to write a play drawing together my fascination with the Passion story with my involvement for many years in the Palestinian peoples struggle for freedom, justice and equality in the Holy Land. Another important influence was the work of the extraordinary Italian theatre maestro Dario Fo, satirist, playwright, actor, clown, commedia genius, who’s been a lifelong inspiration in my work, in particular his comic, subversive reworking of biblical narratives, Mistero Buffo (the Comic Mysteries) – which outraged the Catholic church when it premiered in 1969 (the year I was born). So these ingredients alchemised somehow and produced The Devil’s Passion – a passion play set in an occupied Palestine, and told by the devil.

Given the play’s hommage to Dario Fo, I could not be more delighted to be bringing the show to Italy, in partnership with J.Productions, Milan. And against the backdrop of the tragic events unfolding in Israel-Palestine, the plays setting and themes could not be more topical. I offer it humbly, as a story which embraces both tragedy and hope.”               

Directed by Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson (Morecambe, Twelve Angry Men, The Shark Is Broken), designed by Sean Cavanagh (The Miracle Worker, In Praise Of Love, York Mystery Plays 2012) with a haunting and evocative soundscape by Jack C. Arnold (War and Peace, Wild Rose, Holy Flying Circus, The Woman in Black), richly textured video design by Damian Hale & Christian Krupa (The Chemical Brothers, U2, Elton John, Little Britain) and boldly atmospheric lighting by Tom Turner (Itaipu, Bat Out Of Hell, Swan Lake). The Devil’s Passion was adapted as a major new drama for BBC R3, starring David Suchet, broadcast in 2017, hailed in The Observer as a ‘magnificent performance’ in a ‘satirical, darkly comic, thoroughly stimulating production [which] raises many theological and ethical questions’ and in The Sunday Telegraph as a ‘vivid, comic and lyrical twist on familiar events.’

All sessions are FREE and take place on Zoom at CET time. Please register your interest or book a place by writing to