A pensioner taking part in an open-air telling of the Easter story was attacked by an angry audience member – because she was helping crucify Jesus.
Jeanie Civil was appearing in “The Passion Of The Christ” as Joseph Caiaphasas – the high priest said to have organised the plot to kill the Son of God.
But during the performance outside a church a 59-year-old man suddenly leapt out of the 1,000-strong audience and jumped on her – then punched her in the face.
He ripped off her false beard and yelled “shame on you” before fellow cast members – dressed as soldiers – helped bundle him into a police car which was at the scene.
Police in Brighton say the man was arrested on suspicion of assault by beating following the incident at St Peter’s Church, Brighton, East Sussex, on Easter Sunday.
Jeanie, a psychologist, psychotherapist and author in her 70s, said despite the attack she still managed to hold her beard on – because it was “key to my role”.
She said: “I was walking down the side. He jumped up and hit me. He was hooded. He leapt up and punched me. He then pulled my beard from my face.
“It really hurt. I had to stop him hitting me again.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A man was arrested on suspicion of assault at around 4pm on Sunday.
“The assault took place during a performance outside St Peter’s Church in York Place, Brighton, on a female member of the cast.
“A 59-year-old Brighton man was arrested on suspicion of assault by beating and has been bailed until May 1 pending further enquiries.”