BWW Review: Luisa Omielan Will Make You Laugh and Cry in Her American Debut GOD IS A WOMAN
Luisa Omielan is the first British comedian to ever receive a BAFTA Breakthrough Award for comedy. Currently making her U.S. debut at Soho Playhouse in her one-woman show, GOD IS A WOMAN, she was also nominated two years in a row for Best Comedy Show at the Melbourne International Festival.
Even with these accolades, three previous hit shows in the UK and Australia, and rubbing elbows with the likes of Dawn French and Richard Curtis, getting on stage in the U.S. has not been easy. Without a producer to fund the show, Omielan's friends crowdfunded among her fans and gathered the money she needed to bring GOD IS A WOMAN to Soho.
With a title like this, you already know to expect plenty of feminism and irreverence, and Omielan does not disappoint in that respect. She explains a lot of misconceptions about religion by telling the stories in modern terms. Think Mary Magdalene with a large Instagram following.
What I didn't expect was the poignancy of the piece. After making us laugh for a while, Omielan shifted gears to tell us a harrowing story about her mother. There were no laughs to be had during this part, but it allowed Omielan to lay herself bare and vulnerable in a way that could only be described as brave.
The discussions of religion had already elevated the evening far above fluff comedy, but the serious section elevated it even further to not just a comedy show, but an evening of quality solo theater.
Listening to the story, which often sounded improvisational with a number of asides, I wondered how Omielan was going to swing us back to the subject of religion and the title topic of GOD IS A WOMAN. But she did this deftly, allowing us to laugh again, whether she was complaining about the dog she obviously loves dearly (who shared the stage with her throughout the evening) or poking fun at Americans - acerbically but good-naturedly.
I recommend this show to anyone interested in hearing and supporting a new voice with plenty to say that's funny, touching, and also educational.
GOD IS A WOMAN is playing a limited engagement at Soho Playhouse through October 12, 2019.