BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's Irreverent HAND TO GOD Delivers Laugh Out Loud Comedy
There is something very sinister happening at Theatre in the Park (TIP) in Raleigh and you only have until May 6th to catch it before it's exorcised.
TIP's current production, the irreverent, dark comedy Hand to God, explores the relationship between Margery and her anxietous teenage son, Jason. Margery, who is reeling from the death of her husband, seeks sanctuary in the church by taking over a Christian puppet ministry. Jason deals with his emotions by wrestling (literally and figuratively) with his alter ego, a sock puppet named Tyrone. When Tyrone takes on a life of his own, all Hell breaks loose on the Texas church, its pastor, and the other kids.
Kathy Day's Margery is convincing and believable as the church lady gone awry. Her comic timing is on point and she commands the stage from the get-go amidst outrageous farce.
Ira David Wood IV teeters between the shy, troubled teen Jason and the Satanic Tyrone so masterfully that at times you forget he is controlling the puppet. Wood, who also directed this production, delivers a performance that shows off both his vocal prowess and his ability to embrace physical comedy.
Rounding out the ensemble is Lorelei Lemon, who plays Jessica/Jolene, Kenny Hertling (Timmy), and Chris Brown, who is perfectly cast as Pastor Greg.
Robert Askins' Hand to God was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Play) in 2015, and TIP's production admirably juggles Askins' laugh-out-loud moments with his thought-provoking themes of faith, morality, and good versus evil.
It's a good night out for mature audiences who don't mind a little blasphemy with their supper.
Hand to God runs through May 6th at Theatre in the Park. For more information visit:
Photo: Ira David Wood IV as Jason