BWW Review: TheatreLAB and 5th Wall Theatre's HAND TO GOD is Savagely Funny!

BWW Review: TheatreLAB and 5th Wall Theatre's HAND TO GOD is Savagely Funny!

Audiences who want to be thoroughly entertained should get down to The Basement to see a sidesplitting production of Robert Askins' HAND TO GOD. Boasting one of the strongest ensembles of the summer, TheatreLAB and 5th Wall Theatre's co-production is certainly not for children or those easily offended. It is provocative and deliciously funny. It's the puppetry of AVENUE Q and the irreverence of THE BOOK OF MORMON-without song and dance numbers.

Following his father's death, Jason (Adam Turck) finds an outlet for his angst in the church's puppet ministry. There, he face's every teenager's worst dilemma. His overprotective mother (Kimberly Jones Clark) is running the puppet workshop. Everything goes awry when his puppet, Tyrone, is taken over by a devilish persona. Throw in a sex-starved pastor (Fred Iacovo), a potential girlfriend (Anne Michelle Forbes), and a bully (Adam Valentine), and you have one of the rudest and funniest plays in recent years.

Under the supreme direction of Gary Hopper, HAND TO GOD moves quickly, delivering a one-two punch of physical and dark comedy. Though somewhat flimsy, David P. Melton's picture-perfect Sunday school classroom cleverly converts into the priest's office before folding back into its original state. Local puppeteer Heidi Rugg's talents are on full display with the masterful design of multiple puppets throughout the production. Michael Jarrett's lighting is well-manifested and offers some fantastically dark moments throughout the production.

Adam Turck is impressive, slipping out of the timid character of Jason and jolting into that of the outlandish, foul-mouthed puppet Tyrone with ease throughout the production. He has a fantastic southern accent to boot. Kimberly Jones Clark matches his talent through physical comedy as the pent-up Margery. Fred Iacovo is appropriately meddlesome as Pastor Greg. Adam Valentine is perfectly cast as the classroom bad boy, whose hormones rage for the most inappropriate object of his affection. Anne Michelle Forbes is charming as Jessica, offering her own duplicitous turn as the marginally pornographic Jolene.

HAND TO GOD has been extended through August 11.

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From This Author Jeremy Bustin

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