Four unemployed writers … who happened to be disciples … in a bar. This is the premise that Don’t Take It As Gospel is based around.
Presented by: Dandenong Theatre Company Inc.Venue: Bella Union @ Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers, Melbourne, Victoria
Saturday, 24 September, 2011 Four unemployed writers … who happened to be disciples … in a bar. This is the premise that Don’t Take It As Gospel is based around. Written my Matt Caton and performed by the Dandenong Theatre Company, DTIAG is an irreverent and witty exploration of the writing of the Bible’s New Testament, and not at all based on much fact.
The play rockets along at an extraordinary pace for the most part, and the cast are extremely strong and dedicated to making the show work. Props must go to Daniel O’Kane and Rhys Martin (Matthew and Mark) who have great onstage chemistry and remind me a lot of Hamish and Andy. Colin Morley is absolutely superb as the man in charge of editing The Bible. And I have to mention Laura Ireland who nearly steals every scene she is in. The direction is clear, and scene changes are fast and minimal. There are also some truly hilarious moments (the Something About Mary quip is a killer).
But there are a few problems with the writing. Unfortunately, Matt Caton has created a paradox for himself. The script too often relies on the fact that the characters know about The Bible (the real life version) when (in the play) it hasn’t been written. Another issue lies in the use of 21st century references, when it’s clear that the piece is set in the first century. The juxtaposition doesn’t work. Then there are the scenes that are deliberately about nothing: in the show the actors know they’re in a play, and often refer to it, they talk about editing and replacing scenes. This byline only deflects the audience from the actual story, and really doesn’t add anything to the action or intention of the piece.
Don’t Take It As Gospel is a very enjoyable, if somewhat flawed, show. With some development, it could become a riotous and cheeky jaunt. I hope that Matt Caton and the cast continue to workshop this play to realise its full potential. Until 8th of October, 2011Booking Information (03) 9660 9666, melbournefringe.com.au