It is rare that I will see a play twice (but only because there is so much theatre and so little time), but several seasons ago I saw “An Act of God” at another theatre and thought it was one of the funniest shows I had ever seen. So decide to check out NextStop Theatre Company’s production. This was also the first time I had ever been to their theatre.
This is a solid production that is just plain laugh-out-loud funny. It’s still fresh, irreverent, and well worth the little jaunt out to Herndon.
It was a nice introduction to this theatre. The ever-versatile Jacob Yeh played God and for the most part, landed the lines with the verve and élan they demand. He even worked in a very funny comment about Tom Story (who played God in the other production) that pleased the theatre patrons, judging by the laugh it garnered.
For the most part, the play was still just as funny. It’s about God and his updating of the Ten Commandments — well, mostly. He recycled a couple, but with his preferred interpretation. He also gave us the inside scoop on the backstory to some of the biblical tales and Yeh’s delivery was firecracker fast and absolutely gleeful. This god loves skewering prune-voiced interpretations.
Interestingly enough, not all the lines landed in this show as well as they did in 2017 likely due to the arcs having to do with current events. However, Yeh and his two angels — Gabriel (a lanky, earnest Evan LaChance) and Michael (an upbeat yet questioning Byranda Minix who kept getting sent into time-out) — kept up the pace and moved on.
As the sidekicks, both LaChance and Minix were hoots. There is something very Boy Scout-earnest about LaChance’s portrayal, until the dance moment near the end — this Gabriel can dance (think David Bowie loose-limbed-type of movement). Minix wouldn’t let up on questioning some of God’s more reprehensible decisions and watching the two of them duel was a comedy routine in itself. Let’s just say that God got petty about Michael’s wings.
Directed at a cracking pace with lots of big movements and expressions by Tuyet Thi Pham, this “An Act of God” is irreverent and playful, and thought-provoking under the humor. Scenic designer Evan Hoffman set the stage with a couch, some pillows for God to cuddle with (Archangel Michael was a buzzkill for asking some pointed questions, it seems, and God pouted), a table for his water into wine trick, and a lectern against a stone and stained glass backdrop. There was one rather jarring note with the costumes (and it could be because the previous iteration of this play I’d seen had God dressed in a white suit like a cheesy TV game show host). Yeh’s white sweatsuit was a little underwhelming for a show that starts the action with a game show blitz.
This is a solid production that is just plain laugh-out-loud funny. It’s still fresh, irreverent and well worth the little jaunt out to Herndon.
Running Time: Approximately ninety minutes without intermission.
Show Advisory: For mature teens and older.
“An Act of God” runs through September 19, 2021 in person at NextStop Theatre Company, Herndon, VA. For more information, please click here.