IRONY AND IRREVERENCE IN GLORIOUS FESTIVE FUN
by Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove
Directed by Sophie Roberts
Presented by BATS Theatre
at BATS Theatre, Wellington
From 2 Dec 2010 to 18 Dec 2010
[1hr 20mins (no interval)]
Reviewed by Hannah Smith, 6 Dec 2010
If you don't already know the deal about Christ Almighty! you have not been paying attention. A rotating cast of Wellington theatre luminaries stumble their way toward greatness in a cheerful Christmas fundraiser. The play is made up of a series of monologues and each night different actors and combinations of actors offer us a different twist on the characters of the classic nativity story.
Night three, cast three, begins with Emma Kinane as the Innkeeper – a salt of the earth dominatrix with a broad accent who introduces us to the world of Bethlehem under King Herod's rule. She is followed by Emma Draper as the pushy Angel Gabriel (or Gabrielle in this case) a ‘celestial prostitute' with a very personal relationship with God. And the Three Wise Men. And Joseph. And the Shepherd. And anyone else she can get her creamy hands on.
Jack Buchanan plays the aforementioned Shepherd, an honest Kiwi bloke chugging a can of beer and professing his life has been changed by the ‘revelations' of the Angel Gabrielle.
He is followed by Erin Banks as the Three Wise Men: Balthazaar who has all the grand plans and ideas, Caspar who has a wee crush on King Herod and Melchior who is, bizarrely, Mexican. There is much humour to be found in the rapid shifts between the characters.
Unfortunately the Wise Men meet a swift and untimely end at the hands of King Herod, played by Ally Garrett, who is some kind of amazing Kiwi version of a mafia Don gone horribly wrong. Herod tries his damnedest to be liked but when people try to thwart his plans, well, sometimes you just have to Massacre the Innocents.
Following a short interval Leon Wadham makes an excellent entrance as the long-suffering Donkey, who has been much abused by the Mary/Joseph family unit. His tale of mistreatment at the hands of the Holy family brings a more sombre note to proceedings.
Aidan Weekes, as Joseph, is understandably feeling a bit awkward about his potential inadequacies as a father and husband in comparison to God, a tough act to follow. However, he makes it clear that he is ‘stoked' about his future as the father of the Messiah and he's even been practicing up some new skills that he can teach the boy once born.
Finally, Amy Tarleton comes on to give us Mary's point of view – chiefly that being the Saviour of the World sounds like a shitty job and frankly she'd been expecting a little bit more from big night of passion with God himself – Joseph doesn't have to worry so much about following that particular act.
It's all pretty loose – but then, that's the whole idea. The charm lies in the irony and irreverence of the script, and the hasty knocked together improvised quality of the performances. The entire glorious festive shebang is fun and funny.
It will make you want to go on other nights and see what crazy high jinks the other casts are getting up to. Enjoy!
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See also reviews by:
Priyanka Bhonsule (Hutt News)
Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);
Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);