Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hand To God

We’re doubling up on the entertainment tonight, with a double bill starting at 6:30 at Circa Theatre and a performance of Hand To God, followed by another of NZ Comedy Festival’s Greatest Hits, a return to see what Tessa Waters has been up to in the year since we saw her last.

The first item to be dealt with was, of course, dinner. With an early start we couldn’t go anywhere too swanky, so decided to go to for a curry at Great India. We haven’t been there for a while and they’re a reliable all-purpose Indian restaurant.

Hand To God is a puppet show. Wait, what? Didn’t you just go to a puppet show? Why yes we did, and thank you for remembering. That was a ventriloquism show, though, whereas this is more a glove puppet show – like the muppets. But not like the muppets, in that the content is considerably darker. And it’s on during the comedy festival. Indeed, it is advertised on the comedy festival’s website as a show to go and see. So we went.

Hand To God isn’t a comedy show. OK, it has its blackly comedic moments, but mostly it’s a show about death, grief, coming of age, child abuse and religion. With puppets. Sounds like a bundle of laughs!

The action centres on a puppet club in the basement of a church in a small town in Texas. These are a thing in America, apparently. Americans are weird. Margery, recently widowed, has been asked to run the puppet club, whose members include her son, Jason. His puppet, Tyrone, becomes possessed by the devil, and high jinks ensue. The puppet says the things that Jason can’t say, to the girl he fancies in the club, to his mother, and to club delinquent Timothy. Jason tries to “kill” the puppet, but it comes back to life, and it’s not until he’s dealt with his feelings about his mother that he can finally remove the puppet from his hand. As I said, it’s not a comedy.

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