Francis of Assisi was a highly modern saint. He was practically an environmentalist, and his attempt to make peace between Christians and Muslims during the Fifth Crusade seems centuries ahead of its time. Deborah Dennison's play, staged by a fine Anglo-American cast, sets out to tell his life's story.
Inevitably, parts of the tale are simplified and streamlined, but, apart from one irksome anachronism (a rather clichéd Egyptian sultan gives Francis a printed copy of the Koran some two centuries before the invention of the printing press) it is well paced and carefully researched.
Matthew McCollum (Francis) has a tough job: how do you play a saint without being, well, annoyingly saintly? But he does manage to convey something of his character's impulsiveness, his capacity for childlike joy, and the rapid decline of his health due to a life of radical poverty.
The play is most interesting when it deals with tensions: Francis's struggle to maintain control of the order he founded and his tender relationship with Clare, who became his female counterpart. There are also fine performances from Jonathan Dixon and Paul Geoffrey as his close companions, who help show us the saint through their reactions to him.
• theSpace on Niddry St (Venue 9)