A (kind of) Restoration Comedy –
Behold! The Monkey Jesus
by Joe Wiltshire Smith
directed by Scott Le Crass
produced by Organised Fun
‘Well, I don’t think it’s that bad really. To me, it looks like a warm and friendly face.”
2012. Borja, Spain. Cecilia, a local parishioner and amateur artist, is about to change history. With the best intentions, her careful “restoration” of a beloved church fresco causes her to become an overnight internet sensation.
With the outrage from the church and the ridicule from the world, how far is Cecilia willing to go in order to protect her masterpiece?
Based on a true story comes this thought-provoking comedy about art, self-belief and the perceptions of beauty.
Joe Wiltshire Smith (Writer) is a Welsh playwright, lyricist and theatre-maker, and most recently the Best Drama Winner at the BBC Wales IMS Awards 2022. Recent past work includes Five Green Bottles (Sherman Theatre Cymru, 2019); Miss Caradog is a Serial Killer (BBC Wales/IPlayer 2022); Inky Fish (Lyric Hammersmith, 2022); #Fit, A New Musical (Golden Goose Theatre, 2022); Chandler’s Forehead (L.A Raze the Space, 2022) and Mickey’s Dog is a Plutocrat (BBC Radio Norwich, 2020.) Joe has won the L.A International Playwright’s Festival, J.O Francis Memorial Award and this year he graduated with a scholarship from the University of Cambridge.
Scott Le Crass (Director) directed the Off Com award winning digital revival of Rose by Martin Sherman starring Maureen Lipman (Hope Mill Theatre/Sky Arts/Broadway HD). Last year he received an Off West End and Broadway World nomination for Best Director for Rose. This year Rose won an Off West End award for Best Solo Performance. In May, Rose will be transferring to The West End. Other credits include: Merboy (Omnibus Theatre), Buff, Thirsty (Vault Festival), Rose (Hope Mill Theatre/Park Theatre), Twelfth Night (East London Shakespeare Festival), Elmer (UK and International Tour/Sell A Door), Sid (Arts Theatre and UK Tour), Country Music (Omnibus Theatre).
Photos by Steve Gregson
Press for this production:
‘A well-paced and well-delivered show that punches above its weight… the play is as thoughtful as much as it is amusing, with a conclusion that would have been fanciful if it wasn’t true. Above all, it’s a hoot.’ ★★★★ London Theatre 1
‘The final scene was pleasingly outrageous. And the cast was fantastic. All three performers, Louise Beresford, Roger Parkins, and Mary Tillett, veered from the comic to the tragic with ease. This was a really thought-provoking play, and a very enjoyable one’ London Pub Theatres
‘From the extraordinary story of Cecilia Giménez, writer Joe Wiltshire Smith has created a beautifully crafted play that embraces her innocence and resilience, while exploring the consequences of good intentions gone awry… Director Scott Le Crass has created a rustic simplicity in the telling of this story… With a uniformly talented cast, he evenly balances the humour and the historical narrative drawing on the naturalism of Smith’s dialogue to create an absorbing and engaging production.’ ★★★★ Broadway Baby
‘Joe Wiltshire Smith’s writing impresses with its delightful pace, eliciting genuine laughs. Smith excellently flips between playful dialogue and profound considerations without jarring… Mary Tillett as aspiring art restorer Cecilia is a standout performer… an undeniably entertaining ride’ The Reviews Hub
‘What makes this piece of work so fun to watch is the creative structure, the charisma with which it is expertly delivered by the cast, and the vibrant dialogue in the script. In this new play, ideas about religion and creativity converge making viewers question what they thought they knew about art and enlightenment.’ The Play’s the Thing
‘many laugh-out-loud moments… Beyond the laughs, there is an awful lot you could think about, but in the blissfully air-conditioned Jack Studio Theatre, it is just fun to watch Wiltshire Smith throw all these balls into the air and leave catching them until later.’ British Theatre Guide
A (kind of) Restoration Comedy –
Behold the Monkey Jesus
Written by Joe Wiltshire Smith
Directed by Scott Le Crass
Lighting Designer: Joseph Bryant
Co-created by Scott Le Crass and Joe Wiltshire Smith
Produced by Organised Fun
Louise Beresford, Roger Parkins, Mary Tillett