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Review: HOLY SH*T, Riverside Studios

Review: HOLY SH*T, Riverside Studios

Catholic priests turn into grave robbers to save their church in this absurdist comedy of rollercoasting quality.

Review: HOLY SH*T, Riverside Studios

St Bernard's Church is struggling. The roof is leaking, the spire is breaking down, and George is failing to maintain his following. His waffling services and WordArt flyers don't help to drive engagement. When the cardinal assigns Charlie to become his co-priest, they go from Catholic priests to grave robbers in the span of one night. Demand is high and Professor Jones is willing to pay good money for his research. God will forgive them, but the law won't.

Holy Sh*t is an absurdist comedy of roller-coasting quality. Jack Fairhurst's script provides humour that goes from lame to absolutely brilliant. He juxtaposes a pragmatic priest of dubious faith (Jack Dillon) and a sanctimonious servant of God (Rafael Aptroot), but doesn't dig deeper into the substance of any of it, merely presenting their morally ambiguous antics.

While the play struggles with the pace here and there, it offers nuggets of comedy gold, often at the hand of Dillon's Charlie. From a riotous handshake shared with his mate Neil (Kieren Taylor-Ford, also the hilarious Professor) to a priceless vignette where he covers both sides of the confessional, his comedic timing is meticulous from beginning to end.

Rosa Higgs directs the cast amassing a collection of accents that keep on displacing the setting oddly. Playing multiple characters, Flora Douglas moves from Ireland to the midlands while Taylor-Ford ambles from the US to London. A casket-slash-storage bench takes centre-stage while buckets to collect rain take over one side and a mulch pit simulates the graveyard on the other: a visual summary of the plot.

While the play doesn't really dig up any greater meaning or grander moral relating to any life and death matters, it's entertaining to follow the duo as they discuss the logistics of Judgement Day while they figure out the easiest way to transport a corpse. All in all, the piece is promising at this stage, but it could be so much more. The idea is clever, the dynamic is intriguing, it just needs a rewrite or two.

Holy Sh*t runs at Riverside Studios until 13 December.

Image Credit: Brick Fox Theatre

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From This Author - Cindy Marcolina

Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

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