It seems the heatwave is too much for theaters; thinking I was reviewing “I Spy A Spy”, I ended up at The Actors Temple instead to see God Shows Up” because the St. Clemente Theater had no air conditioning, and had to cancel the show.
“God Shows Up” is about a Tele Evangelist who is very similar to Joel Osteen, he has a big domed stadium to preach, makes oodles of money by preaching the more you give, the more God will give you. Dr. Thomas Issac Rehan (Neil Mayer) is a man who sells everything from Jesus flip flops to religious car fresheners. Since his preaching s is multi denominational, Jews, Muslims and Christians alike can order any of his products in their religious beliefs.
The good Doctor is all about saving souls, he brings up his loyal production person on stage, Consuela (LeeAnne Hutchison) who was dying, but has been saved because she gave money to be healed. Hutchison ( who I last saw in “A lovely Sunday At Creve Coeur”), was funny and witty in her role as the poor slep for the Preacher.
All seems to be going well for Dr. Rehan, he has a huge house, several cars, chauffeurs, maids, weekend staff, personal trainers and chefs to make his life easier. His wife and family enjoy vacations to Paris and life could not be better preaching the word of God; then God shows up on his show and things change for the worse, and so does the show, unfortunately .
God (Lou Liberatore) is a funny, as a matter of factually type of God. He pokes just enough fun at the Preacher to make him very uncomfortable. When God enters the play is still good, still keeps your interest, but soon goes downhill when the funny becomes overly ridiculous. The jokes and the shtick borders on dumbed down camp.
All three actors are very good in this play, so is the direction by Christopher Scott. The problem is that the hashtag jokes and the jokes about what was actually said in the Bible and what was meant to be said were just not funny. Writer Peter Filichia has God as a campy gossip. We hear which Hollywood stars and musicians are atheists and who’s a bad boy among st the stars.
In its glam lighting, Joan Racho-Jansen does a very good job keeping the show light and breezy. Jansen captured the spirit and the upbeatness in which the three actors banter about. In the end, the evidence of the evil reds were masterful with a flair for the dramatic.
If the play stayed on course and not went off the plains with God being so prissy, it would have been a terrific show. The play was well staged, well directed and the actors were all in sync with one another. Lou Liberatore (Daniel’s Husband, Burn This), would have been better served if he kept jabbing the Preacher in which he started out. When relegated to the camp, the play became to schmaltzy and lost its appeal.
Maybe the next time we see God he will hammer away at the Tele Evangelist in a different, more funny way, rather than hash-tagging us to death.