Need a good laugh? Or maybe 90 minutes’ worth of laughs?
Then check out “An Act of God” at the Fulton’s Tell Studio.
David Javerbaum’s one-act play manages to touch on just about every foible, flaw and question mankind has and put a humorous spin on it.
And the brilliant Erin Maguire, who plays God, makes sure every one of those laughs lands.
A stand-up comedian, Maguire knows how jokes work and her two sidekicks, Gabriel (Michael Iannucci) and Michael (Anson Woodin) serve as the perfect foils.
Now, if you can’t appreciate a show that makes smite jokes, talks about God’s original plan for Adam and Steve or features God having a few drinks, then “An Act of God” is not for you. Theological satire is not everyone’s cup of wine.
But don’t think this is an anti-religious show. Javerbaum’s target is human nature and the jokes, which fly fast and loose, are directed at us, not God.
Well, OK, the show does make fun of the “In the beginning” profundity in the Old Testament. As the show opens, a “Star Wars”-like scroll rolls out on the projection screen.
Maguire’s God is confident and full of bluster. Dressed in a white T-shirt, pants and a jacket, she arrives on the set of her show, “Cooking with God,” to talk about the Ten Commandments, which she tells us were written in a few hours and maybe need some revisions.
Maguire isn’t really God, since God is an ethereal presence. Maguire was chosen by God to send out the word.
Kudos to director Marc Robin for casting her and for directing the show in a wonderfully breezy and fast-paced way.
During the course of the show, as Maguire makes drinks, chops up apples and munches on them (while discussing the Garden of Eden), she moves effortlessly around the small stage, occasionally ranting, but mostly setting the record straight. God is not happy with us.
Gabriel is her good angel, who cleans up after her and reads passages from the Bible in a serious and profound way. Iannucci’s prim and proper performance is a hoot.
Michael takes questions from the audience about the profound stuff, like why do bad things happen. God has answers, but Michael suffers for asking them. Like Iannucci, Woodin is the perfect straight-man for God.
The set, designed by Sean Cox, is small but dazzling, with crisp, clean edges in the kitchen area and a bright red sofa created in the shape of lips. The walls are filled with clouds.
Anthony Lascoskie Jr. does a great job with the costumes.
I have to admit, as I write this review, that I don’t remember the specifics of the jokes, as the show is that breezy and fast-paced. Even the notes I took don’t help. What I do remembers is a fun, laugh-filled show with a few “Oh, my God, I can’t believe they went there” moments.
This is gentle satire with a liberal bent to it. (Javerbaum was a writer for the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”) If you’re game, join the choir.