Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

An Act of God
Venice Theatre
William S. Oser

Also see Bill's review of Hedwig and the Angry Inch


Brad Wages
Photo Courtesy of Venice Theatre
Venice Theatre relies on God to open their 2021-2022 season via David Javerbaum's An Act of God in the Pinkerton Theatre. This comedy started out as a series of tweets, then was adapted into a book before its current version as a play. The play was presented twice on Broadway, first with Jim Parsons, then with Sean Hayes, both limited runs.

Javerbaum presents God as a bit of a diva, sometimes cranky, with some decided opinions on how he should be regarded and treated by us, the mere mortals. Midway through the first act he begins a review of the ten commandments and their over-importance and suggests a newer, more relevant but less dogmatic set. During this section and continuing through to the end, there is a serious change of tone, from caustic/funny to more existential as God begins to wrestle with real theological issues such as why God allows bad things to happen to good people and good things to bad people, and does God answer prayers and how.

Brad Wages, known mostly as a director and on the education staff at Venice Theatre, takes on the role of God. His comic timing in the early going is not his strong suit—he seems afraid to let the jokes land on their own. But he finds his stage legs more as the play progresses and in the latter half his honesty is moving. He is assisted by Debbie White as the archangel Gabriel, who handles the biblical end of things, and Patrick Mounce as archangel Michael, who early on goes into the audience and fields questions and later challenges.

Pacing is solid and things are never allowed to drag, thanks to director Dennis J. Clark. Scenic designer Tim Wisgerhof has done his usual excellent job. The set piece of the ten commandments is stunning. Maureen S. Demers dresses everyone in lovely costumes in pastel blues.

Venice Theatre's policy is masks for everyone in the audience, and they must stay on when inside the facility, which has undergone and is undergoing renovations, so that everything looks fresh and new. Starting September 24, The Mystery of Irma Vep takes to the Pinkerton stage and Almost, Maine will be the main stage offering.

An Act of God runs through September 5, 2021, at Venice Theatre, 140 West Tampa Ave., Venice FL. Box office: 941-488-1115 or www.venicestage.com.

Cast:
God: Brad Wages
Michael: Patrick Mounce
Gabriel: Debbi White
God Voice: Bill Atz


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