Saturday 14 February 2009

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) - UK National Tour

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)
by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

additional material by Matthew Croke
Director: Matt Rippy
Reviewer: by Ian Cain

Condensing the entire Bible into a theatre production that runs for just under two hours is no small undertaking, but that’s exactly what the Reduced Shakespeare Company have achieved.

From fig leaves to Final Judgement – and almost everything in between – the cast of three, comprising Simon Cole, John Kielty and William Meredith, appear as a multitude of biblical characters in this satirical, fast-paced jaunt through the Holy Book.

This is strictly a tongue-in-cheek production that should be taken with a large pinch of salt: do not expect a reverential re-telling of Christianity. Instead, prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride through the Old and New Testaments and prepare to be entertained, shocked and surprised all in the same evening.

Many well-known biblical tales are retold with some topical twists, including Gabriel, Angel of The Lord, presiding over a game of Deal or No Deal, David’s battle with Goliath being performed in slow-motion as a parody of Chariots of Fire, and members of the audience, imitating animals, being boarded onto Noah’s Ark.

There is no doubt that the controversial script, penned by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, will have some people screaming ‘blasphemy’ from the nearest church steeple but, if you’re a fan of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the schoolboy humour will, undoubtedly appeal.

The three performers are on stage for, virtually, the whole duration of the show and they each deliver energetic and extremely physical performances. They also demonstrated their skill for ad-libbing to particular effect when a pair of late-comers took their seats.

Particular highlights include the re-enactment of the Last Supper, in which the three actors portray Jesus and all twelve of his disciples by poking their heads through cut-outs in a drop cloth, and William Meredith dressed in a pink and white bunny costume recounting the events of the Resurrection.

If you think you may enjoy a romp through the history of religion which includes searing satire, juvenile jokes and madcap mayhem, then this is a show for you – but take one piece of advice from me: don’t bring the vicar!

The Bible: The complete works of God (Abridged) is on a UK tour for more details visit tour page

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