PLAYWAVE CREATIVE REVIEW: AN ACT OF GOD
AN ACT OF GOD
Reviewed by Lara Franzi and Zack Lewin
An Act of God dissects religion and its follies in 75 minutes of divine performance, music and satire. The show gathers the commandments of theological virtue, and recounts a misunderstood history. Based on David Javerbaum’s comedic novel ‘The Last Testament: A Memoir by God,’ he has adapted it to theatre and constructed his ideas without fear, into this satirical romp that enlightens and broadens our common ideals. This particular showing at the Eternity Playhouse was a fun-loving localised version, ensuring the messages and jokes were optimised for the Australian audience.
Through a questionnaire-like talk we are guided through the story of the Bible. Through biblical language and brisk dialogue we are exposed to a selfie-taking God and his wing-man angels. The stage, designed by Charles Davis, is cleverly transformed into the stairwell to heaven, bathed in purifying colours. With witty remarks and cool special effects, God’s omniscient power is reinforced. Most notably within this performance is Javerbaum's perfected style in which he discusses the conflicting ideas within religion, without causing tension and harm to personal beliefs.
The show walked the narrow line between disrespect and a reimagining of religion. How far it crosses the line relies on the viewers own boundaries, although we think that most people could enjoy this performance, as there’s nothing particularly outrageous. The commentary is placed largely on political issues that are usually addressed through a religious lens; there was a very large focus on queer politics.
And this was largely assisted by Mitchell Butel’s strangely camp performance.
Through his quirky modern interpretation of God, we are constantly reminded of our own individual expectation of religion. Javerbaum strategically rewrites traditional values such as the legacy of Adam and Eve, instead making it relatable to his open-minded audience during the Sydney celebration of Mardi Gras. This alteration subtly leaves us with the critical idea that we are evolving religion within our society, to keep it relevant and accessible.
An Act of God is an irreverent play that brings forth a deeper understanding toward our beliefs and practices. This performance resonated with me and the cultural influences that have built up my beliefs. I found it an entertaining and meaningful performance that I’m glad to have had the opportunity to see.
An Act of God was thoroughly entertaining, although it focussed almost too much on queer issues, in a way that I found lent on the side of patronising. But that’s me personally, I’m exposed to queer issues regularly through my own communities and thus I would have preferred to see a focus on a more diverse range of religious issues. However the show was inherently camp, and entirely non-ashamed of this, it owned it and for that reason it was fun, exciting and at times shocking. I’m grateful to have seen it.