Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Act of God ***

David Javerbaum, the winner of 13 Emmy awards for his work as head writer on The Daily Show, has adapted his book The Last Testament: A Memoir by God and his comedic twitter feed @TheTweetOfGod to create a star vehicle for Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory fame. If none of these references has awakened at least a tingle of anticipation in you, this is a show you can skip. Nor should you attend if you are arch-conservative, homophobic or anti-Semitic. Parsons portrays the Almighty as a volatile figure with wrath-management issues, who enjoys dropping one liners in profusion. Tired of the existing Ten Commandments, he has come up with a new set that he finds more suitable for our times. As he retells familiar bible stories from his unique point of view, he is assisted by the archangels Gabriel (Tim Kazurinsky), who intones an appropriate passage from his Gutenberg bible from time to time, and Michael (Christopher Fitzgerald), who roams the audience with a mic to take questions for God and asks some difficult ones of his own. Depending on your sensibility, the prevailing spirit is either hilarious irreverence or offensive blasphemy. My own response favored the former, although there were a few times that things crossed the line a bit. The production, at Studio 54, features an elegant white set by Scott Pask beautifully lit by Hugh Vanstone and enhanced by Peter Nigrini’s projections and Gregory Meeh’s special effects. David Zinn’s costumes are droll. Joe Mantello’s direction is assured and uncluttered. It’s not for everyone, but Parsons fans will leave happy. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

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