godeatgod @ Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights (for Fringe)
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
godeatgod is an ambitious piece of theatre. Anything that tries to tackle religion and its influence over the individual and society is going to be ambitious. Playwright Haresh Sharma has written an interrogative and cerebral theatre experience that is carried off beautifully with the help of actors Andrew Sutherland, Jess Nyanda Moyle, Ming Yang Lim and Burmese dance artist Mindy Min-Swe.
The slight room, stage and audience is ideal for the show, with the actors so close that their voices vibrate through your body and they can reach out and touch you. The actors keep the audience involved in the narrative of discovery through new and interesting ways, ways that are so off-kilter you can’t help but be swept away by it all. It all helps make the audience feel a part of the journey – the weird, the horrific, the beautiful and the transformative.
The focus around Asia’s relationship with different gods gives the show a good focal point; instead of crossing the globe it cleverly illustrates the omnipresent effects of religion through a smaller vantage point. godeatgod investigates the blaming and questioning of god in a universal sense (mass shootings, social discourse) as well as a private sense (the pain of losing a loved one, the pain of dying). These correlating viewpoints and the constant interchanging between them is both interesting and at times a little confusing. Nevertheless, it is intelligent writing and you have to give kudos to Sharma for following his vision.
The performance by Jess Nyanda Moyle in particular is a standout; it was impossible not to be moved by her sense of urgency and conviction. She didn’t miss a beat and kept the whole play humming along nicely with her energy. The hypnotic dancing and movement of Mindy Min-Swe was also a highlight, as it was used in such wonderful contrast with the frantic levels of the show.
The show is let down a little by the sheer intensity of its content; after an onslaught of different characters, styles, visuals, stage elements, and narrative, the artists express their hope that the show has raised some questions from the audience. However, the audience may be left questioning what it is they just experienced more than any specific thing.
godeatgod is as emotional and touching as it is weird and infuriating; constantly being reminded of the absurdities and horrific things we humans do in the name of God, government and love is not an easy pill to swallow. But, if you want a unique, offbeat theatre experience that will leave you scratching your head with both glee and confusion accompanied by a renewed vigor to investigate the world, godeatgod is for you.
godeatgod runs until February 24 at The Blue Room Theatre as part of their Summer Nights program for FRINGE WORLD. For tickets and more information, visit the event page here.