Bigger Than Jesus


Bigger Than JesusPhoto - Beth Kates

Outside of the Wharf Theatre a small group of people that I assume are Christians, of one denomination or another, are gathered around a fairly big picture or Jesus. Their intention isn’t really clear as they watch the audience meander in, but I can only assume that they’ve come down to the Rocks to remind us that nothing is bigger than Jesus. In hindsight of watching the show I can’t help but feel that they’re missing the point, a little like the knee-jerk reaction to John Lennon’s comments back in 1966.

In an interview for the London Evening Standard Lennon was quoted as saying ‘Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me’. It’s the final line of what Lennon said that resounds throughout Bigger Than Jesus where Rick Miller, as a multi-faceted Jesus, shares Jesus’ own story. For fans of religious conspiracy theories or alternate perspectives on the history of religion there’s not really anything new here, but it is in the deliverance of the Jesus myth that makes Bigger Than Jesus such a gem.

Miller is an impressive performer, whose control of his own voice and physicality allow him to seamlessly shift between characters as a chameleon does colours. The design work (Ben Chaisson & Beth Kates) appears simple, but the integration of pre-recorded, live projections and simple puppetry allows Miller to move through space and time without any awkwardness.

I’m not a religious person and have no formal religious education other than what was forced onto me as part of my public education yet I could glean from their reactions of some other audience members that there were subtleties to Bigger Than Jesus that I couldn’t understand. However no one in the audience walked out or appeared offended at all. The content that the show covers isn’t antagonistic and, as long as it is engaged with an open mind (this is art after all), should provoke discussion into Jesus’ historical role rather than debase his place in history.

Lennon isn’t right yet and we should be thankful for this, otherwise Bigger Than Jesus probably wouldn’t exist. Miller’s mass/lecture/performance is thoroughly engaging which is no mean feat for a single performer to hold the audience’s attention for well over an hour. If you’re set in your ways and not comfortable with the questioning of organised religion then Bigger Than Jesus is probably not for you… otherwise this is definitely worth a look.


Sydney Festival and Sydney Theatre Company
Bigger Than Jesus
Created by Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks

Director Daniel Brooks

Venue: Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company, Walsh Bay
Dates/Times: January 18-22, 25-29 at 8pm | January 22, 29 at 2pm | January 23 at 1pm and 5pm
Duration: 1hr 20mins, no interval
Tickets: $50 / $40 / Group 10+ $40 / Under 30 $30
Bookings: Sydney Theatre Company 02 9250 1777 | Sydney Festival 1300 668 812

Most read reviews

The Wizard of Oz

How often do you have the opportunity to relive your childhood, with your own adult ‘child’ next to you?

Spring Awakening | Hills Musical Company

It’s a brave director who mounts a work addressing full frontally taboo issues like teen sex, masturbation, physical and sexual abuse, homosexuality, abortion, injustice, oppression of minorities and suicide.

Muriel's Wedding – The Musical | Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures

Every so often a show comes along that defies your preconceptions and exceeds your expectations to such an extent that it leaves your head spinning.

In-laws, outlaws & other people (that should be shot) | Blackwood Players

Despite its grammatical inaccuracy, the title of this play by Steve Franco is beguiling and the Blackwood Players took it on with gusto.

Burlesque by Force | Brodie John

Burlesque by Force is persistently provocative, munificent and shrewd.

Most read news

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to open in Melbourne 2019

 Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, producers of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, have today confirmed the record-breaking production will open in early 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, exclusively and only at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre.

Telstra Ballet Award Nominees Announced

 Six talented dancers of The Australian Ballet have been announced as nominees for the prestigious Telstra Ballet Dancer Award. Now in its 15th year, the award recognises rising stars that embody what it means to thrive.

Wendy McCarthy to step down as Circus Oz Chair

Wendy McCarthy AO has announced that she will retire as Circus Oz Chair at the end of October after nine years in the role.

Theatre Without Limits

If you miss a theatre show’s season then you have missed it for good. However, a new wave of theatre free from the limitations of time, location and cost is arriving to showcase some of Adelaide’s best emerging actors, writers and director.

Mullum Music Festival Youth Mentorship Winners

Mullum Music Festival is thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Youth Mentorship Program with winners coming from as far as Brisbane and Sydney.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required