Monday, July 15, 2013
Theater review: Amphibian’s The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) is a hilarious romp through the good book
Testify if you laughed for two straight hours.
FORT WORTH Do you still have questions about the Bible? Maybe you have a question about Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah, or Phil Collins and Genesis? Well let me tell you, Amphibian Stage Productions has a way to help you with that, it's The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), a zany comedy written by the team of Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Justin Tichenor.
The play is a comical ride through the good book. The play starts with Adam and Eve then goes all the way to final judgment. You get to see it all done in just two acts. You are being led on this journey by three culturally diverse men who, with the help of audience participation, tackle some of the greatest theological questions ever. Old Testament in the first act and the New Testament in the second, they cover it all for you. The writing in this show is absolutely brilliant as it's so hard in theatre to keep an audience laughing for two hours straight. Long, Martin, and Tichenor have written a show with absolutely great continuity. It flowed so well you find yourself laughing through the entire show.
The minute I walked into the theatre I was amazed by Sean Urbantke's set design. The entire set is basically the inside of an old stone church with a huge arch in the center surrounding a giant stained glass window. I was so enthralled with the detail and texture of the set I didn't notice that the Gregorian chant music playing was actually pop songs from the 80's. The show starts with a quick introduction of the characters that will be leading you on this magical journey. There's Brandon who seems to be the sanest one of the three. Then there's Luke whose obsession with Noah might not be such a good thing. Finally there's Scott who decides a children's Bible story book is the best way for him to teach you. During the first musical number, "In the Beginning Blues," you see the chemistry between these three characters. That chemistry is there from the beginning of the show all the way to the end.
All three actors deserved accolades for their performances in the show. Brandon J. Murphy's facial expressions throughout the show made everything they said seem a little more believable. Luke Longacre's ability to keep a straight face through some of the lines was truly remarkable to watch.
But in truth I'd have to say that the performance by Scott Zenreich was priceless. Any man that can keep a straight face while wearing a bra with tassels is a true hero to me.
Director Jay Duffer put together a wonderful experience for theatre goers. I really have to give him props on just about every aspect of the show. The blocking was very well thought out. I really don't think there was any spot on the stage that wasn't used. His ability to use the whole stage actually made it much more visually pleasing. Mr. Duffer really deserved kudos for putting together an A-Team of actors and designers.
Sean Urbantke set was very intricate with many different entrances available for the actors use. The stone walls are painted gray with different variations of rocks throughout. The thrust area is painted and aged quite nicely in a soft amber color. He breaks up the floor by adding a burgundy-colored, blocked spiral that resembled a meditation labyrinth many churches still use today. The contrast between the two played very well in the light.
Lighting was a huge part of the timing in this show. Frederick Uebele did a great job in creating a design that guides the audience's eyes throughout the show. The quick and sharp cue changes made a lot of the scenes flow. Mr. Uebele use of color mixing really helped to antique the stage and make you feel like you were in the Middle East. Lighting on a thrust can be challenging due to the fact that you have to light from all directions. Uebele lit the show evenly from every side so no matter where you are sitting you can always see the actors.
The sound design for the show hit's you right from the beginning. This is all thanks to David Lanza. His preshow music has you laughing before the show starts. His expertise is heard all the way through the show with some whimsical effects here and there. You could definitely tell when God was talking to the characters. The overly effected voice of the big man makes you believe it's him. The sound levels were perfect for the room. I never felt like it was too much.
Emilee Kyle's costume plot was fairly simple but versatile and effective. She kept with muted, stripped robes through most of the show but added different colors underneath for distinction of characters.
Finally props!!! This show is a heavy props show. Cosmo Jones has been a busy guy for the past month. You could see his humor in some of the properties used in the show. For me I couldn't stop laughing when one of the three wise men showed up with his gift in a Justin Bieber bag. Jones truly did a great job with this play.
The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) was really one of the funniest shows I've seen in a long time. Amphibian has done a great job modernizing it with recent events. So if you have an inkling to be entertained and laugh out loud for two hours, without a bolt of lightning coming through the roof I might add, The Bible is for you.
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