John Wolfson’s play The Inn At Lydda has the subtitle A Meeting of Caesar and Christ, and that’s what his work, performed in the candlelit setting of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, was all about. The play was inspired by the New Testament apocrypha, something I’d never previously heard of but which I found pretty interesting. The apocrypha are a collection of ‘pseudo-gospels’ written after the third century, and in these, the Emperor Tiberius orders Pontius Pilate to be killed when he realises that Jesus of Nazareth is already dead, robbing him of the chance to be cured of his illness.
Wolfson imagines that Tiberius and Jesus do meet, in the weeks between the Resurrection and the Ascension. Stephen Boxer and Samuel Collings make a strong pairing, and their scenes together are memorable. The run-up to their meeting is even more entertaining, with the wise men making several appearances. The tone is vaguely Python-esque and it was also reminiscent of Elizabethan comedy.
I warmed to this unusual play, not just because of the beautiful venue – which I love – but because of the enjoyable production.