REVIEW: Being Jesus

Sometimes a show’s blurb is so enticing that you become determined to have it succeed for you. “Being Jesus” is an example of this: great concept but god-awful execution (pun intended).

It’s Jesus’s birthday. He’s getting on and getting tired of his mum Mary’s questions about that prostitute ex-girlfriend Mary Magdalene. Still, he’s determined to bring the whole family together for dinner: his mother, omnipotent father, Carpenter Joseph and even Satan (just don’t call him Lucy). It doesn’t take long for the Holy family gathering to descend into dysfunction. A bored and drunk Mary is full of resentment towards God for what he did to her body, God is an angry, rude sadist and a hen pecked Joseph never speaks.

Yet, while the set-up is primed with possibility, it misses it mark in delivery, with too many prolonged moments and indulgent performances. And I was certainly surprised to find that such a laborious show has come from a comedy group because I was hardly laughing into delirium. God might think he is funnier than Buddha, but I certainly didn’t. Perhaps it was just me who found his comedy offensive (and not cleverly so). Or is it not too soon for jokes about missing Malaysian flight MH370?

I assume (hope) that excessive exaggeration of the show’s energetic performances is with aim of presenting a melodramatic family drama comedy (like a soap opera on steroids), but at times it is difficult to tell. Although there is some interesting interaction between Jesus and Judas, this is where the appeal begins and ends. Coupled with the competing sounds of a live band playing in the next room of the Boundary Hotel venue, and it seems barely worth the effort, much as I wanted it to do its premise justice.

This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the opening night performance on May 8.

If you think that perhaps it is an acquired taste, you can purchase your tickets to “Being Jesus” here.