Mass at Bristol Old Vic Review


Written by Lisa Bartlett
16 Thursday 16th April 2015

Writer and performer – Amy Mason

Presented by Bristol Old Vic Ferment

What elements of religion are important to you? Amy Mason was brought up a Catholic and in her hilarious new play ‘Mass’, now showing at the Bristol Old Vic, she explores what she considers to be the  key  elements of religion. The play is structured as a Roman Catholic mass with some very clever variations on the traditional format. Mason tells us how, in the aftermath of having witnessed a terrible accident, she began to reflect to her on own religious experiences and questioned what religion really means to modern society.  The play explores her own relationship with religion as well as reflecting on how a religious mass would function if she had the freedom to create her own.

‘Mass’ is flecked with hilarious personal anecdotes and this one woman show cleverly incorporates audience participation, but not in a heart pounding, daunting way, which is how most people may feel about being asked to participate in a play, but in a gentle and comfortable way which made it feel like a community coming together rather than an opportunity to say something stupid in the throes of nerves and tripping over your own feet. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the show, but a personal highlight was when she asked a member of the audience to write his version of the Ten Commandments, because the original ones were ‘A bit bossy really weren’t they?’

In a world which is sometimes rocked by religious controversy, ‘Mass’ is a brilliant exploration of how society can learn a thing or two from religion and cleverly highlights some of the more inclusive characteristics, reminding us that even if you don’t believe in God, you can still find comfort in faith. The hour long show largely celebrates the community aspect of religion, the importance of looking out for each other and trying to see the best in people. Mason encourages the audience to reflect on the lighter elements, with a heavy focus on hope, forgiveness and music; it is a play about humanity and humility and is well worth a visit.

For more information about Mass and Amy Mason’s other projects, visit

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