FOR only the second time in the near 700-year history of the York Mystery Plays, they have left behind their cobbled street roots and Museum Gardens resurrection for the awe-inspiring York Minster.

They previously did so in 2000 when Mike Poulton and Richard Shephard were writer and music director/composer respectively, just as they are in 2016, but Yorkshireman Poulton and esteemed former York headmaster Shephard have not rested on their laurels.

Mr Poulton has pruned, cut, trimmed and updated his comprehensive script, with a relish for Yorkshire's naturally percussive, alliterative, guttural yet still poetic language and a grumpy, restless, even Boycottian humour beloved of the Broad Acres and the occasional modern idiom for extra effect.

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The Last Judgement in the York Minster Mystery Plays. Picture: Duncan Lomax

Mr Shephard, meanwhile, has pretty much come up with a new score and underscore, save for revisited hymnal flourishes, where for once in this world, the angels in their glowing halos, rather than the devils, have the best tunes.

Acting on the advice to take your seat a good ten minutes before the start enables you to survey the splendour of Max Jones's set: stone colour-coordinated with the Nave on steps that climb to Heaven, with a protruding jetty into the audience for monologue moments.

On a banner behind, Douglas O'Connell's video designs will become a thing of beauty and wonder throughout, matched by Tina MacHugh's lighting that at one point turns the Nave ceiling into all the colours of the rainbow. This is why the Mystery Plays have their occasional day in the Minster: the epic scale and spirituality is beyond any other building in our historic city.

Hotshot director Phillip Breen has arraigned his forces impressively and in turn he has combined tradition with modernity in the production's dress code, both biblical and high street; its diaspora of York community actors in 2016, new faces and regulars alike; and in his nod to the Plays' Corpus Christi Day traditions with two trees and Mary and Joseph's stable both being placed on the traditional form of transport: carts.

The first half ensemble set-pieces are magnificently staged: the Creation with a galaxy of planets and radiant angels; Roger Farrington's stoic Noah and the two dodos being barred from the ark before the flood of all floods in a sea of blue that recalled Gregory Doran's production from 2000.

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Toby Gordon as Lucifer. Picture: Duncan Lomax

Bob Mallow and Christie Barnes's clay-clad Adam and Eve leave nothing to the imagination to somewhat comic effect, while Maurice Crichton's camp Herod, with Hull vowels and a manner reminiscent of Peter Kay's Potter in Phoenix Nights, stands out in the first half. Ruby Barker's Mary impresses too.

All this before Philip McGinley makes his entry as Jesus in jeans, briefly recalling Robson Green's attire in 1992, but soon dispensing them for robes and going on to give a moving portrayal, his voice caressing the walls like no other in the company of 200.

Not everyone projects with clarity in the Minster's echoing acoustic, but Philip Massey's Pilate and Ian Small's God have the right depth. It is particularly pleasing to see Toby Gordon back on the York stage after drama school days that have honed his handsome menace for Lucifer, with a clever touch in his appearing as Barabbas too.

You will hear from plenty that the Minster Mystery Plays end up even longer than the profusion of bonkers biblical beards that outdo our 21st century fad, with a very late-night finish in store. The trials, as always, become a trial of big argumentative voices, but the spectacle and McGinley's still, composed Jesus win out.

York Minster Mystery Plays 2016, York Minster, until June 30. Box office: 01904 623568 or at