Gods steal too much of the show
Take a bunch of squabbling deities, lock ‘em in a room, and then introduce a couple of alltoo-human elements who have to make an earthly decision about their heavenly future.
That’s the premise behind this quirky locally written comedy by Shivarn Stewart.
The Massey University Drama Society (MUDS) enthusiastically embraced the Centrepoint stage and would have gained immensely from the experience.
Greeting the audience on entry was a disciplined phalanx of classically robed human statues, who maintained their dignified poses, making only subtle movement shifts, until everyone was seated.
That disciplined approach epitomised the rest of the production, and was essential given a cast of two dozen on the traverse stage, with director Ethan Burmeister making excellent use of the space.
Among the well decked-out gods of major world religions were Yahweh aka ‘‘Chris’’ in Hawaiian shirt and jandals, a slinky female Lucifer, Shiva, a chilled out Buddha, striking Jade Emperor, Gaia, Loki, ornery Ares, and dipso Dionysus.
Notably missing was Islam’s Allah, any Maori or Polynesian gods - perhaps the oddest omission in a New Zealand play, or Flying Spaghetti Monster.
So, no indigenous southern hemisphere deities, but enter a couple of Palmy students, arbitrarily selected to decide a millennial question about the degree of divine intervention in human affairs.
Having so many egocentric self-justifying immortals, plus Death, along with associated philosophical discussions, meant there was little room to develop those human stories.
There were hints, but the back-story of Kevin, and Michelle, did get glossed over during this novel exploration of comparative religions.
Despite some clever, funky and funny banter, in any talk-oriented piece, pace is king.
While the lines were fluent enough, momentum sagged in places, and quicker cue pick-ups would give this enterprising production a little more punch.
Matthew Schaw as Kevin and Tessa Mitchell-Anyon as Michelle in ‘‘God Awful Company’’.