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Theatre Review: Jesus: An Ordinary Life - Blue Room Theatre, Perth (Performances through July 4th)

He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy! Or rather more accurately in this case, he’s a neurotic actor, with just the right sized nose and a slight drinking problem; tasked by the Ancient Israeli equivalent of Don Draper, with spreading the word of this new fangled religion – Christianity.

If you haven’t already guessed, Jesus: No Ordinary Life is a comedy, specifically the latest comedy from playwright and director Damon Lockwood. In it Lockwood takes the idea that the Bible is not necessarily the word of “god” and runs with it; creating a wonderfully absurd work, that had me laughing from the outset.

Jesus: No Ordinary Life is an utterly ridiculous work, in the best way possible; it is irreverent and gloriously silly. It’s laugh out loud funny without being crass and vulgar. And it features perhaps the best example of Deus Ex Machina (sort of) this side of Shakespeare. Lockwood also it seems isn’t one to worry too much about theatrical conventions, breaking down the fourth wall in one instance, providing a humorous directors commentary (albeit voiced by one of the actors); and at one passing around a collection plate.

The performances from the whole cast, all of whom taking on multiple roles, were fantastic throughout and really served to highlight the experience and skill of the group, many of whom are veterans of Perth’s comedy and improvisation groups.

Comedy and religion aren’t always comfortable bedfellows; the Pythons famously were subjected to accusations of blasphemy on the release of The Life of Brian, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some backlash to this piece – albeit on a smaller and less public scale, and it will undoubtedly come from people who haven’t seen the show (or who are completely devoid of a sense of humour), and are basing their opinion on a name and synopsis alone.

That being said, Jesus: An Ordinary Life is arguably as much an indictment of celebrity culture as it is a comic take on the Jesus story. And that’s not to mention the handful of jokes made at the expense of actors, the acting profession, and critics as well.

But most importantly Jesus: An Ordinary Life is funny! It’s well acted, well paced and has a coherent story line, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like it at times. Ultimately despite it’s religious subject it is an entertaining and accessible production (if you don’t know anything about Christianity you get a handy cheat sheet with your programme to get you up to speed) all in all it makes for an enjoyable night out to the theatre.

Jesus: An Ordinary Life is performing at The Blue Room Theatre, Perth until the 4th July. For more information and tickets visit: http://blueroom.org.au/events/jesus-no-ordinary-life/

The reviewer attended the Opening Night performance on June 18th.