In Jesus Freaks, the crisis in the Vatican finally reaches boiling point. The church is facing financial disaster, with less than a year before it goes completely bankrupt. What can be done to save it?
The answer: stage a Second Coming. Not the Second Coming, but a Second Coming. Get some theatre-school dropout to dress up as Jesus, wave his hands around and bless some stuff; you know, reinvigorate the faithful, do a few magic tricks, smile for the cameras. That’ll fix things, right?
If you don’t take Jesus Freaks too seriously–and the cast certainly doesn’t–there’s a lot to like about this show. It would be very easy for this kind of production to veer sideways into the usual Fringe pastiche (“Let’s dress someone up as the Pope and make them say ‘fuck’ a lot!”), but Sam Edwards (who, in addition to wearing the mitre hat, also wrote the show and co-directs) keeps that from happening.
Okay, they still say “fuck” a lot, but this script clearly wasn’t idly thrown together on the floor of a bar. There’s some thought behind it, and it gives the cast plenty of meat to play with.
Sometimes it works. The opening scene is especially good, and an interview between his Holiness and the leading candidate to play Jesus (Jeff Russell) is interesting.
Sometimes it doesn’t. The women in particular are wasted on throwaway parts which are mostly foils to male roles who aren’t much better-defined. It doesn’t help that one of these female roles seemed to exist at least in part so a male character can grab her ass, a problem compounded significantly by the sheer awkwardness of the moment.
But, again. Don’t take it too seriously. Jesus Freaks doesn’t want to teach you anything, or say anything especially profound. They’re just here to have fun.
Well. Have fun and say “fuck” a lot, but I suppose that can’t be helped.
- July 06 09:45 PM
- July 08 05:15 PM
- July 10 06:00 PM
- July 11 05:15 PM
- July 12 08:00 PM
- July 14 02:45 PM
- Tickets for all Mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only.
- Advance tickets are $11, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062 ext. 1), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West)
- Money-saving value packs are also available; see website for details.
- LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Production image provided by the company.