Act of God by David Javerbaum. The Vaults Theatre, Launceston Street, Waterloo, London SE1 to 12 January 2020. 4****. William Russell

Act of God
By David Javerbaum.
The Vaults Theatre, Launceston Street, Waterloo, London SE1 7NN to 12 January 2020.
Tues-Sat 8pm Mat Sat & Sun 4pm.
Runs 90 mins. No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 815 7141.
Review: William Russell 1 December

Rewritten for a British audience this smash hit Broadway review is very funny and has a splendid God in the while silk pyjama clad form of Zoe Lyons. God the father comes in many guises and here he – or is it she? – is God the Lesbian. Ms Lyons’ rules the stage, her timing is a delight, and she delivers the lines with crystal clarity and a marvellous sense of self mockery from Heaven, which consists of a pristine white sheeted double bed straight out of John Lewis, aided by a couple of archangels : Michael (Matt Tedford), who is much put upon, speaks English yokel and wears a dress, and Gabriel (Tom Bowen) who is hunky, wears skin tight white shorts and seems to have rather more than angels are supposed to possess. I suppose you could call it a Nureyev but it certainly catches the eye.
David Javerbaum’s script is full of smart jokes and four letter words as God takes us through the Ten Commandments, and there are some nice English additions including one about Prince Andrew which got the biggest laugh of the night. There is a lot of camping around, the angels have splendid feathered wings, God performs some miracles which do take the breath away – her exit at the end is a triumph as his her return – and a good not all that blasphemous time is had by all concerned, not least the audience. Maybe the four letter words could upset Sunday school parties, although that is a matter of opinion, but the levity about things ecclesiastical would surely not. Although the archangels are easy on the eye and perform the functions of the straight man, well straightish archangel, very well indeed this really is a one god show. Ms Lyons reigns over the universe, cracking the jokes as if she had just thought of them, responding to the audience’s reactions when she says something intended to be shocking with scarce concealed glee, while radiating concern about the state of the world she has created. Some see it all as anarchic, and maybe it was in America. Here it just seems to fit nicely into the British revue tradition and proves one of the best holiday season shows on offer in London. It is apparently based on a Twitter account where Mr Javerbaum drops religious bon mots into the twitter sphere to the shocked delight of an alleged 6 million followers, some of whom may even go to Church.
Whether anybody will be shocked is open to question but those who go will have a good laugh and see one or two miracles performed by God which I will not spoil by describing. They will also end up worshipping the wonderful Zoe Lyons.
For those in or around London thinking of giving a Christmas present that is different here is the answer. Two tickets to comic paradise – otherwise known as the Vaults Theatre.

God: Zoe Lyons.
Archangel Michael: Matt Tedford.
Archangel Gabriel: Tom Bowen.
Director: Benji Sperring.
Designer: Tim Shortall.
Lighting Designer: Clancy Flynn.
Sound Designer: Yvonne Gilbert.
Magic Consultant: Scott Penrose.
Production Photography: Steve Ullathorne.

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