THE MYSTERIES. BBC4, Thursday, March 6, 8.30-10.35pm
This film captures some of the power of the London stage production of the Chester Mystery Plays by a company of actors from South Africa, who perform with dialogue, dance and song in English, Xhosa, Zulu and Afrikaans. Rather that being a barrier to enjoyment or understanding, this mingling of languages underscores the ritual element in the plays. All the expected Bible stories are here from Creation to Christ's birth, death and resurrection. The cast, directed by Mark Dornford-May and chosen through audition in South Africa's townships, makes ingenious use of the minimal set, concentrating on the poetry and energy of the drama - and the humour in stories such as Noah's Ark. There is material here for English, drama and religious studies.