On Good Friday hundreds of Christians and music fans flocked by the Mecca of Manchester for a very different musical event. When you think of Manchester, the Hacienda scene and images of 24 Hour Party People probably pop into your head, either that or those charming Oasis boys, but tunes from these bands took on a very different persona in the first 'Manchester Passion'.

The basic premise that the story of Christ's last days are told in the middle of Manchester, in a thoroughly modern setting may not appeal, but this gospel drama is as much celebrating the power of music to unite people, as the power of Christianity.

Beginning with the Last Supper to the foreboding strains of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', the drama and emotion is very much based on which melancholy modern classic is being performed at the time, rather than any physical action. After betraying 'Jesus' by text message in just one of many anachronisms that allows the play to be simply entertaining rather than indoctrinating, the character representing Judas launches into The Smiths classic 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now', reaching the morbid falsetto with ease. It's interesting to hear these songs, not just in a new setting, but also with limited backing and based primarily on the vocal efforts.

One of the most powerful moments sees 'Jesus' and 'Judas' perform a duet of 'Blue Monday' before the former is carried away, the bitter vocal sparring adds a new tension to the piece, while even atheists must feel a tingle of excitement at how well the legendary lines, "How does it feel to treat me like you do?" seem to fit the equally legendary story and even reduced of its synth splendour the track is equally epic.

These Manchester indie classics are punctuated by less inventive performances from a static gospel singer based in Albert Square, her musical fodder of Robbie Williams 'Angels' and M People's 'Search For The Hero' are sincere, but slightly distracting from the real story and indie action.

Eventually 'Jesus' is led to the square to the hurried string sounds of 'Ever Fallen In Love' by The Buzzcocks; a stellar adaptation which has your attention well and truly focussed on the stage. Here Keith Allen, our animated narrator for the evening makes a swift transformation into Pontius Pilot, allegedly proving the point that Jesus's persecutor could be any one of us, before the two unite in a swift duet of 'Wonderwall', which would have the Gallagher brothers quaking in their shoes. Several minutes later Jesus is carted off by heavy-duty police, but not before donning the infamous orange attire of Guantanamo Bay detainees - you have to love this sneaky contemporary twist.

You hardly needed to take bets to realise that our modern day messiah would appear again singing The Stone Roses 'I Am The Resurrection', although I'll bet that the latter wish they'd been allowed to serenade fans from the top of the city's town hall. It is a fitting conclusion to an interesting and certainly passionate evening, whether it was the music, or the religion that inspired you.

It's a shame that the musical element of this event wasn't publicised as it was only through BBC news that I heard the dulcet strains New Order and knew it could be a worthwhile watch. The crowd seemed to be full of appreciative people looking for a good spectacle, rather than religious fanatics. Perhaps this is a good thing as it would be impossible for anyone not to come away from the event with the feeling that, whether it be true or not, the story of Christ's last days is an epic with more dynamo than most of the predictable offering in the cinemas today, and now it even has a fabulous soundtrack!