THE York Mystery Plays have been winning rave reviews from national theatre critics, who have hailed them as a “splendid spectacle” and a production which “shimmers with life”.

A review in The Times said that at times, the production in the Museum Gardens rivalled the Olympics for “sheer theatrical heft”, adding that the use of the crowd – all ages, dressed in everyday mid-20th-century clothes – is breathtaking.

The Guardian review gave the Plays five stars, saying: “One is buoyed by the euphoric swell of many hundreds of volunteers converging to celebrate the heritage of their city.

“They call this God’s own country: here’s proof.”

The Observer critic said: “To see so many actors, of all ages and conditions, strolling, surging and streaming over the playing space is amazing.”

Liz Wilson, chief executive of York Theatre Royal, one of the organisations behind the staging of the Plays, said: “It has been great to welcome the national theatre critics to the city and to have got such great reviews for all aspects of the production including our great setting in the Museum Gardens. This adds so much to the reputation of our city.”

She said people from around the world were coming to see the plays and the total audience would be around 35,000. Many shows have sold out, but tickets remain for some performances.