An act of God is a cynical retelling of the famous Ten Commandments by “God Herself”. Zoe Lyons stars is this dark humoured Christmas comedy that skirts on the edge of appropriate jokes. It’s incendiary, absurd and a complete mockery of religion. A provocatively sinful night at the theatre!
It begins by the witty Lyons exclaiming over her new female body, after appearing as a man so frequently. She then introduces her helpers, one of which is Gabriel (Tom Bowen), a muscled angel who looks like a cast member of ‘Magic Mike’. Then the adorable Archangel Michael played by Matt Tedford. Lyons then goes onto set out her new Ten Commandments, since the first were done so rashly and she has grown weary of them. The whole show is an indulgent monologue with interjections from Micheal. His is the profane voice of science we so often hear pointed at religion. “What about evolution?”, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. ‘God’ gets more infuriated by these questions and gives inconclusive answers. “I work in mysterious ways” being the most ludicrously common answer. The show gets more flippant and riotous as the night continues on and Lyons’ sarcastic anger as God is hilarious.
Lyons portrays a narcissistic God who swans about the stage in white silk pyjamas. This somewhat untraditional version of ‘God’ is whimsical and the night in steeped in that scepticism Lyons acts so well with. Her comedy style acting is natural and suits the spoof like genre of the show perfectly. However her musical ending was a bit of an over-kill and her questionable vocals didn’t feel necessary to end the otherwise satisfying show.
Tom Bowen playing Gabriel is the sexy and loyal sidekick to God. He struts around, adding comical graffiti to the walls. He plays a confident Gabriel and his smarmy demeanour is fantastic. However my favourite character is the naive Micheal who is played with a sweetly geeky nature. Tedford gets shut down and sent off stage for his daring questions to God. These got the audience in full sighing sympathy. At these times the show is pantomime like, and even some members of the audience booed God! It’s an absurdly scornful show for adults to delight in.
It’s hard not to wonder whether the show takes it too far at times, especially when it questions: 9/11, the Holocaust and poverty. But David Javerbaum has written a delightedly irreverent show that is utterly anarchic. While it receives some sharp intakes of breath, I truly loved the honest humour.
Overall An Act of God is deeply funny and full of ridiculous innuendos. It’s a raucous night at the theatre that and a brilliant alternative to your typical Christmas show.