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Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of THE GOOD BOOK at Berkeley Rep?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of THE GOOD BOOK at Berkeley Rep?

THE GOOD BOOK opened at Berkeley Rep on April 25 and is running through June 9, 2019.

"In the beginning was the Word..."

Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson (the team behind An Iliad) apply their formidable creative energy to unearth the all-too-human formation of the most influential book in Western history-the Bible.

This powerful play weaves together three distinct yet connected stories: a devout young man struggling to reconcile his belief with his identity; an atheist biblical scholar trying to find meaning as she faces her own mortality; and the creative journey of the Bible itself-from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval Ireland to suburban America-through the many hands, minds, hearts, and circumstances that molded this incredibly potent testament to the human spirit.

Let's see what the critics have to say...

Lily Janiak, Datebook: Peterson's cast is phenomenal. Each member of her ensemble - Elijah Alexander, Lance Gardner, Denmo Ibrahim, Shannon Tyo and Wayne Wilcox - marshals a phalanx of silly accents, pop-eyed expressions and otherworldly singing, all deployed with incandescent warmth. Nobbs conveys Connor's isolation just in his speech pattern. He's like a machine that hums too fast, until he jerks out a phrase at some still more errant pace or modulation, overrunning even his own weirdness and having to rein it back in.

Jean Schiffman, San Francisco Examiner: Whether you're a devout believer (like the fictional Connor), a confident atheist (as O'Hare is) or somewhere in between (or if, as one of the characters accuses Miriam, you're jealous of the believers), it's likely that you'll find yourself thinking, amid the laughter and brain overload, about your own inevitable death.

Steve Murray, BroadwayWorld: Lydia Tanji adds some excellent Costume Design and the set is illuminated beautifully with ancient scrolls texts by Lighting/Projection designer Alexander V. Nichols. The Good Book examines the bible as a living, breathing document and must change with the evolving times. Connor does reconcile his faith with his sexuality while Miriam sticks to her guns. When their lives converge at the scene of Miriam's car crash, he offers her comfort in prayer. Of course she cannot accept, but there is a moment of tenderness and serenity.

Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News: Rachel Hauck's set looks deceptively simple in Berkeley Rep's intimate Peet's Theatre, depicting a somewhat cluttered open space with some folding chairs and tables. Combined with Alexander V. Nichols' terrific lighting and projection design, however, it becomes a rich canvas to be filled with language, illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, chapter titles and lots of snow.

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