David Javerbaum’s hilarious comedy effectively brings the ten commandments into the 21st century.
Want to understand God and the bible in a whole new way? While that is a question I never thought I would ask but it is quite necessary as this razor sharp comedy by David Javerbaum proves, as God re-examines the ten commandants and makes them feel more appropriate for the 21st century.
As well as offering new reinterpretations of the best known elements of the bible including the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark and even the birth of Christ, the smartly written An Act of God effectively uses humour to explore what humanity means in the 21st century. Throughout exploring each new commandant, Javerbaum’s 90 minute show delves extremely deep into important questions about what it means to be human- even with all our flaws.
Having originally premiered on Broadway in 2015 starring Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper in’The Big Bang Theory’) as God, Javerbaum has updated the script to add fresh jokes that will appeal to a British audience not least references to Brexit and promises to deal with our politicians when the time comes as well as some celebrity bashing. Directed by Benji Sperring, there is a great energy and pace throughout that keeps the audience delightfully engaged throughout – even if there are the occasional moments when the jokes are flying so fast that it can be difficult to keep up.
The show is vibrant and lively but also there is a more thought provoking side to An Act of God as it reflects on incidents such as The Great Flood and God testing Abraham’s loyalty by attempting to force hime to sacrifice his son. but it is also when Archangel Michael (Matt Tedford) questions God about why lets bad things such as the holocaust happen and not help in anyway does the audience see any real regret. Moments like this are powerful and transform the tone of the show to great effect.
Having Zoe Lyons play the role of God was a great piece of casting. Razor sharp in terms of comedy timing, her matter-of-fact attitude really works in gaining the audiences trust and showing the world from her point of view. This frankness enhances the humour but also ultimate sadness at the way in which the world has turned out. You get a sense that the world hasn’t turned out the way planned. Matt Tedford as the sweetly innocent Archangel Michael is great support – interacting with the audience and being the audience’s own voice , constantly throwing questions at God and getting increasingly aggravated at God’s attitude. It is a performance that really develops pleasingly as the show goes on. Tom Bowen as Archangel Gabriel is also good support reading out the commandants in a flamboyant way – even though he is a bit underused.
Highly entertaining throughout, An Act of God is a refreshing piece of comedy that does make you reflect on life from a different perspective.
By Emma Clarendon
An Act of God continues to play at The Vaults until the 12th January.