If opening a show on Ash Wednesday can be considered blasphemous, then theatre company HumDrum needs to do some praying.
Following the success of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), HumDrum have upped the ante by tackling the greatest story ever told – plus thousands of others for good measure.
And there will be no abstaining from laughter when it debuts at the Spring Arts Centre in Havant, as the good book has been given a humorous makeover.
James George, Darren Gilmore and Mikey Palmer will take on every major role in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation – perhaps literal revelation in finale – the trio will whisk audiences through Jesus, Joseph, Mary and mayhem.
HumDrum has good form in adapting the canon, including John Buchan’s The 39 Steps and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
Sam Sampson, who was responsible for Shakespeare (Abridged) and The 39 Steps, is in the director’s chair again.
The show does not steer away from controversy – take the character of Sir Cumcision for instance. Of course, a show that condenses the entire Bible into just a couple of hours has its difficulties.
Sam says: ‘In the Shakespeare you had stories that that lasted quite a long time. In The Bible it is just a line or two so we have to take the audience along with us more quickly.’
The company have condensed the narrative with originality and pace. The Song of Solomon from the Old Testament, for example, has been transformed into King Solomon’s latest album.
The Josephs of the Old and the New Testament are subtly differentiated with the help of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Music student Matt Mellor will also be on hand to provide a live musical backdrop to the action on his keyboard. And biblical secrets will be revealed.
What’s myrrh, for example? Why did Pontius become a pilot? And what’s Nigel Farage got to do with anything?
The Complete Word of God (Abridged) is at the Spring Arts Centre, Havant from Wednesday to Saturday, February 18-21, at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £9, concessions £8.
Call (023) 9247 2700 or visit thespring.co.uk