The Bible : The Complete Word of God (abridged)

Wilde Theatre, touring 4 September – 30 November 2008

Reviewed for the Maidenhead Advertiser, 9 October 2008

The Reduced Shakespeare Company first performed this show in 1997, and once the UK abolished its blasphemy laws they were free to do so again. Lo, the people did rejoice at another chance to see the Old and New Testaments performed in 50 minutes each.

Mixed in with the tried and tested mixture of metatheatre, sketches, songs and audience participation were updated gags about Facebook, Katy Perry, Boris Johnson and the Nintendo Wii.

It might seem very brave or foolish to treat the Bible as comic material, but the Reduced Shakespeare Company could get away with being irreverent because they knew their scripture so well. The jokes were often backed up with real quotations from the Bible.

The show concentrated on already well-known passages like Genesis and Noah’s Ark, relying on the audience’s foreknowledge to help tell the story. It probably didn’t teach the laypeople any scripture they didn’t already know.

But letting the audience fill in the gaps left room between punchlines for some valid points about Fundamentalists (“no sense of humour”) and the representation of women in the Bible. All in a day’s work for a company whose speciality is cramming lots of material into a short period.

Written by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

Crew includes Matt Rippy (director)

Cast includes Jack Bennett, John Kielty and William Meredith


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