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'Blasphemy' in Springer opera sparks outrage

RELIGIOUS groups in Ireland have flooded the Grand Canal Theatre with complaints about new show Jerry Springer: The Opera.

The Herald can reveal how the manager of the venue has received more than 65 emails of complaint from people objecting to the "blasphemous" production.

General manager Stephen Faloon described it as "the most controversial production" the theatre has ever staged. It contains over 650 swear words.

"The show is quite profane and Jesus is referred to as being a bit gay because he's so full of love and he's full of positivity for the world but there has been a lot of outrage about it," he said.

"In some instances, the emails have attacked me directly, saying that 'bad things will happen to you'.

"We've had about 15-20 every day and they've mainly been from religious groups describing it as blasphemous.

"This is the first time it has been shown in Ireland and I'm actually quite surprised we didn't have people protesting for the opening night."

Defending the production, he added: "It is a satire and it's not meant to be taken very seriously. It's not anti-Christian at all. It's a really fun production."

In Dublin for a one-week run, the show is based on TV's The Jerry Springer Show and promises to "offend and delight almost everyone",

The production was first staged in 2002 before being broadcast by the BBC in 2006, provoking a massive 60,000 complaints. It went on to run in London's West End where it was a box-office success.

Lead actor Simon Delaney has also received messages from Christian movements against the show.

"It would be very glib to say, get over it, it's 2011; but we have to be aware of people's sensitivities," he said.