Review Roundup: HAND TO GOD at Triangle Theatre
HAND TO GOD, a play by Robert Askins, will play at Triangle Theatre in Portland through September 30. The show, which premiered on Broadway in 2015, follows the story of Jason, who, after the death of his father, finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry, in the devoutly religious town of Cypress, Texas. Jason's complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and-most especially-his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason's puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. Hand To God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Bennett Campbell Ferguson, Willamette Weekly: Yet whenever Hand to God loses you, it pulls you back in, often with its potent sound design. From the music on the car radio while Margery drives to the sound of crickets while Jason lies in his sleeping bag, every noise immerses you in the story, making you feel as if you're within Jason's world as he wrestles with whether he is going to overcome his worst instincts or surrender to the devil that clings to his arm.
Krista Garver, BroadwayWorld: Where Sohigian's talent really shines through is later, when Tyrone becomes uncontrollable and he finds himself in a fight for his life (or at least for his soul) with his own right hand. Sarah Lucht was also excellent as Margery, a woman undone by grief (for herself as much as for her husband) who has no resources left to deal with anything very adaptively, including her troubled son. Under Don Horn's direction, Triangle's HAND TO GOD wasn't as funny I expected it to be. It was more disturbing. And that's a good thing because it's the psychological drama that gives the "shock factor" elements their meaning.
Hailey Bachrach, Oregon ArtsWatch: The pew-like audience seating in Triangle Productions' performance space, The Sanctuary, is fitting for Hand to God, Robert Askins' church-set dark comedy that opens Triangle's 2017-18 season. Director and designer Donald Horn's set perfectly captures the wholesome tackiness of a church classroom, a scene ripe for disruption.
Photo: David Kinder, Kinderpics