BWW Review: Two Fists Up for HAND TO GOD

Friday, February 9, 2018


After seeing HAND TO GOD, you may wish you'd brought your spiritual advisor or psychotherapist with you, either for consolation, confession, or calming your endorphins. Because Robert Askins's play is an unnerving, ferociously funny, hysterically startling, and very dark experience that will cause you to look in the mirror twice and reflect on what makes you/us human.

In co-production with Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre's Ron May has directed (in his inimitable and wizardly way) a loony and engaging descent through the gates of humor into the abyss of merciless satire. It's kind of like entering Dante's Circles of Hell only to discover that Señor Wences's Johnny has been possessed and is now a sock puppet named Tyrone.

Eric Zaklukiewicz is amazing, embodying convincingly two diametrically opposed characters, possessed of two different voices and manners. His transitioning between Tyrone the devil and Jason the repressed angel is a work of total mastery, an absolute tour de force.

Elyse Wolf delivers a powerhouse performance as mother Margery, radiating the fierce determination of a woman trying to cope with the chaos and mixed feelings that come with widowhood. She's a cocktail that is a perfect blend of vulnerability, raw sexuality, and explosive emotion.

Michelle Chin conveys Jessica's shyness with an authenticity that is a delight to behold and then turns the tables when she demonstrates her own proficiency in puppetry with Jolene in a sex scene that knocks everybody's socks off.

Vaughn Sherman is a great bad boy whose lust and lack of inhibitions rattle the basement walls.

Louis Farber is beautifully controlled as the pastor who assiduously tries to hold the church walls together but betrays his reverential nature in a failed seduction of Margery that has all the subtlety of an evangelist preacher.