Those familiar with the late 19th century novella made popular by Charlton Heston’s 1959 film will find the 21st century take a fast paced, eye-catching performance with live gladiator fighting, chariot racing and dance. What sets this performance ahead of its predecessor is the musical score by Stewart Copeland (The Police) and its minimalist sets which are clevered configured and reconfigured to create Nazareth, Rome and Jerusalem.
For passionate linguists, dialog is surprisingly in spoken Latin and a kind of pre-Arab/Aramic, with voice overs in Italian and subtitles in English. Unlike Heston’s film, the performance lasts under 2 hours (with a half-hour intermission) and is vibrant. The dancing and spectacle events recreating the Roman empire seem inspired by the Cirque de Soleil, and are in fact by choreographer Liam Steel— whose dance and gymnastics movements capture the personality of the era and story.
Arrival to Nuova Fiera di Roma is best by local train (FR1) from Termini and Ostiense stations. Look for Ingresso Nord.