THEATRE REVIEW: An Act of God ★★

An Act of God
The Vaults Theatre, London
Wednesday 27th November 2019 - Sunday 12th January 2020

Taking on the ultimately role of the man in the sky, Zoe Lyons is God herself; made famous in May 2015 on Broadway with Jim Parsons in the role, David Javerbaum’s An Act of God is a satire comedy that seamlessly answering the deepest and insightful questions that have been posed from the audience, with two trusty angels either side of God in helping to make the world a clearer place of mind, with Matt Tedford and Tom Bowen taking on the roles of Archangel Michael & Gabriel.

Tim Shortall’s design really shines through in this production with a heavenly double bed making up the central set piece that Lyons spends most of the time in front; in fact, Benji Sperring’s direction is mostly static throughout, which does make the whole piece at times come across more as a lecture than a piece of theatre, with evidently fewer laughs coming through as the course of the 90 minute running time counts away. Furthermore, with Lyon’s presence pretty much taking up the majority of the playing space, you can’t help but wonder why Bowen and Tedford’s characters have been written into the piece, other than just becoming a bit of eye-candy and writing down the ten commandments as the show goes against the black walls encapsulating the space, but with more modern, if not crude, results.

As a leading lady, Lyons does a commendable job in keeping the pace up throughout, but again you can’t help but feel like the lack of movement does not allow Lyon to really shine at all; if anything, this is a show which has mostly been created for the words it represents (which have been updated for UK audiences and in line with pop culture relevant at the time), rather than the performers themselves, and that feels like a real shame. The climax of the piece however most certainly became the highlight, as a little bit of trickery, courtesy of Magic Consultant Scott Penrose, places the show ultimately in a meta state, which does land amongst the half-empty crowd in during this particular outing, but will leave you scratching your head as to just why the choice of ending felt so needed.

Overall, whilst An Act of God delivers technically with a ultra-modern lighting design from Clancy Flynn which encompasses led wiring that becomes a voice activation method for a familiar voice over, the piece itself fails to become anything more than a seminar which will leave you looking at your watch and producing nervous laughter in what is an almost silent reception which appeals to the wrong crowd, no matter how updated David Javerbaum’s script has been made to keep in with the current times.


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