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John Newton – Amazing Grace

‘John Newton – Amazing Grace’

Saltmine Theatre, Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 17 February 2014

The man who wrote the world’s most famous hymn, Amazon Grace, was John Newton (1725-1807). To state that doesn’t do justice to an extraordinary life of sea adventuring, long-life romance with his wife and finding God.

However, Saltmine Theatre have taken his story and brought it to life in a gripping drama culminating in his crowning achievement of his hymn.

In a period when the British economy depended on slavery, Newton was press ganged into the navy before working slave ships to the colonies.

When his ship was storm threatened, he cried out in wretched fear to God to be saved and became a passionate Christian believer, leading into ministry.

A parallel with the Prodigal Son was well made as Newton came home, wrote hymns, his autobiography and then became convicted of his sin in slavery.

The Saltmine company was superb, maintaining pace, history, emotion with some amusing observations about church denominations.

Richard Hasnip’s script employed dramatised narrative, building a compelling testimony of a man who was lost, found God’s grace and led countless others to the same blessing.

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