Written by Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks
Performed by Rick Miller
Environment designed by Beth Kates
Sound and Video designed by Ben Chaisson
Factory Theatre Mainspace until December 12
Box office: 416-504-9971

Reviewed by Robin Breon

Upon leaving the Factory Theatre after having seen Rick Miller in his latest performance piece, I asked a critic-colleague what she thought of the show. "Hugely theatrical", was her response and since I can't think of anything better, I'll go with that as well.

As the holiday approaches, religion is much in the news if you haven't already noticed. The world is no longer torn over ideological debate that pits the specter of communism against the forces of free world democracies (with the exception of those pesky North Koreans who seem to think they have the right to deploy nuclear weapons). No, the big story is whose God is going to triumph in the end. And just how near is the end, anyway?

Miller and Daniel Brooks (who directed as well as co-wrote) don't try to bite off more than they can chew in this brief (seventy-five minute) monologue that is premised on Miller's own personal view as a lapsed Catholic that now excludes any belief in heaven or hell. Having said that, one readies oneself for a heretical, blasphemous, iconoclastic bombast that will skewer cherished beliefs so that even the most cherished believer might leave the theatre questioning the icons of his or her orthodoxy. Well, not quite.

What we get is a somewhat pious, one might almost say reverent, take on the Judeo-Christian ethic that, although not without its satiric and profane elements, doesn't quite bring us to rapture. Although the ideas at play are not that challenging, the delivery of the piece, including Miller's own highly engaging form of acting (his Jewish, New Yawk accented Christ and the bible thumping TV evangelist are standouts) along with the added use of superb visual technology, makes this piece of performance art (I wouldn't quite call it a play) a "hugely theatrical" evening that draws us in for most of the time.

Clearly in evidence is Miller's time spent with Robert Lepage especially with regard to production design and clever use of roving video cam. To me, it was a bit reminiscent of Lepage's one-person version of Hamlet which might have actually inspired (although I don't know this) Miller's own previously successful run with MacHomer, his version of Macbeth as filtered through the Simpsons characters.

Whatever - this Miller-Brooks collaboration was time well spent at the theatre. And that's an answer to my prayers.

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