A very large bed with pristine white covers, a suitably heavenly back drop, and divine clouds make up the set. It’s as good as anything I suppose but really isn’t used to its potential until the very end. It’s also worth checking out the hands on the top of the pillars, giving a hint of the general tone to come. After a while you may also notice a pervading smell of incense, or is it possibly sulphur?
Anyway, it turns out God is just a bit bored with the way the whole Ten Commandments thing has been interpreted and wants a bit of an update. In order to explain and deliver ten replacement commandments she has decided to visit The Vaults, using the corporeal form of Zoe Lyons. Lucky for us, as God is able to capitalise on Zoe’s honed comic timing and impeccable delivery.
God is ably assisted by his two trusty Archangels, Gabriel (Tom Bowen) and Michael (Matt Tedford). Gabriel is muscular and scantily clad in his tight white outfit. He announces the relevant God tweets to the audience, adding an additional chalk summary on the walls to aid interpretation. Who knew Angel Gabriel was such a goody-two-shoes. The slightly camp Michael is clad just as questionably as his companion. Not your archetypal warrior, perhaps, but he does challenge God, picking up awkward questions from the inner consciousness of the audience. There are times when the angels are just hanging about not doing a great deal, or disappear altogether, which seems a bit of a waste of their obvious talent.
God describes the thinking behind some of her early projects; Ada (yes Ada not Adam) and Eve, Creation. Apparently, fish were originally destined for the air, but the last-minute switch turned out quite well. She mocks the ridiculousness and impracticality of the descriptions of big events in the Bible. How could Noah have possibly taken two of every single creature along, it was two PUPPIES. She takes a cynical swipe at religion, current affairs, politics and celebrity.
There are no convulsive belly laughs, instead it’s regular and frequent, served up with a mixture of one liners, puns and some corny punchline jokes (Ba-dum ching). The way the space is used means quite a bit of turning in seats as we strain to see what Gabriel is writing, unsuccessfully in my case. The rumblings of God’s anger blends nicely with the distant sound of the trains above and the magic tricks are smoothly incorporated.
Displaying self-doubt, regrets, selfishness and with wroth management issues, turns out God may be human after all.
Written by: David Javerbaum
Directed by: Benji Sperring
Produced by: James Seabright
Design by: Tim Shortall
Sound by: Yvonne Gilbert
Magic consultant: Scott Penrose
Box Office: 0207 401 9603
Booking Link: https://www.thevaults.london/an-act-of-god
Booking Until: 12 January 2020