BWW Blog: Jessica Vanek - HAND TO GOD at Majestic Repertory Theatre
Jess here. Las Vegas is known for its groundbreaking entertainment and risky performances. The production I just saw of HAND TO GOD at the newly-opened Majestic Repertory Theatre is no exception to the rule. This show was undoubtedly the funniest work I have ever seen, thanks to the actors and director, Troy Heard. HAND TO GOD follows Jason, a troubled teenage boy with a strange connection to his homemade puppet. Jason struggles to please his recently widowed mother who has put together a daily "Puppet Practice" group in the basement of a local Texas Lutheran Church. Things slowly start to spiral out of control when Jason's puppet, Tyrone, seems to develop a sinister mind of his own. Chaos and consequences ensue, as Jason and Tyrone ultimately go wild.
Andrew Young had quite a lot on his plate, due to the fact that he had to memorize both Jason's as well as Tyrone's lines, and I must say he did an outstanding job. His character(s) were incredible, and he never missed a comedic beat. Aside from being able to fully commit to the humor of the show, he also did a tremendous job with the more tragic parts of the story. Pietra Sardelli as Margery was a wonderful choice. Her character's complex inner turmoil intrigued the audience and made them sympathize with her difficult situation. Josh Sigal as Pastor Greg was another fantastic casting decision. His "good guy" character played a nice contrast to Timmy's (Myles Lee) dark, angsty teen. Myles Lee did a great job creating distinct relationships with both Jason (Andrew Young) and Jessica (Breon Jenay). Jenay's Jessica was a sweet quirky girl who brought a sense of reality to this highly nonsensical tale.
The set was so-seemingly innocent, which was (opposite?) from the highly explicit show. Posters praising Jesus lined the walls, and Tennessee Spelmane made a very creative and versatile set. The costumes by Coral Benedetti were functional and perfectly fitting for the characters. The lights by Jody Caley were efficient in telling the story while adding dramatic effect.
Director Troy Heard did an extraordinary job in putting this show together. This production showcases some of the finest dark comedy in all of Las Vegas, and the actors, technicians, and director are the reason why. HAND TO GOD runs for two more weeks, and if you're in the mood for a jaw-dropping, knee-slapping production, go to majesticrepertory.com for tickets. Don't forget to also drop in to see CARRIE THE MUSICAL opening in May.
"Life is for the alive my dear, so let's keep living it. Really living it." -Stephen Sondheim