Millbrook Playhouse’s ‘An Act of God’ triggers hearty laughter
MILL HALL — Fortunately, since the recent relentless rains have subsided, it is no longer necessary for theatergoers to act like a modern-day Noah and build an ark to float into Millbrook’ s parking lot to have an encounter with their creator.
“An Act of God,” Millbrook Playhouse’s final Cabaret production, has 7:30 p.m. performances tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
In this production, God — who looks a lot like Mark de la Concha – sets out to put the record straight, assisted by two of his favorite archangels.
Since I did not see either Jim Parsons or Sean Haynes on Broadway, this second coming of the deity is a first for me.
Even with the show’s brevity and a hefty ticket price, fans reportedly flocked to David Javerbaum’s “An Act of God” during its New York run, perhaps in part to see the talented comedians who played the Creator.
In Millbrook’s production, it is Marc de la Concha who is nattily decked out in white with a touch of gold (necktie and suspenders) playing God. As expected, this Actors Equity Association performer gives a top-notch performance in the Cabaret finale.
de la Concha, who directed Millbrook’s earlier Cabaret attraction “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” has the smirky smile and twinkle in his eyes to make God a howling success, as the opening weekend audiences did clearly attest.
This is not the first time that the talented actor has had a religious experience, as he wore a nun’s habit in Millbrook’s “Nunsense: A-Men” several summers ago. His last appearance was as the gossipy lovelorn counselor in” Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating.”
Now in his 11th season at Millbrook, de la Concha constantly draws peals of laughter as he updates and revises the original Ten Commandments.
Whereas, the Cabaret’s last offering “Footlight Frenzy” barely fit on the tiny stage, “An Act of God” fits well within the Cabaret’s cozy confines, as de la Concha offers his symposium of sorts while prancing around the stage, only occasionally reclining on a white couch perched on center stage.
God is assisted by a couple of archangels: Gabriel, played by Company Manager Jonah Conner, and Michael, played by Galen Molk, who uses a microphone to pose some perplexing questions to God.
By commenting on what really happened, God “corrects” or at least clarifies what the Bible passages mistakenly relate.
Briskly directed by Adam Knight, de la Concha uses a rat-tat-tat delivery, to explain what he did during Creation, emphasizing that the first couple was really Adam and Steve — and not Eve as we were taught to believe.
What happened when Abraham was ready to slay Isaac, and how Joseph misread the sign “Manger” as “Manager” when he was checking into the B.B.B. (Bethlehem Bed & Breakfast) and other burning questions are tackled in de la Concha’s basically 90-minute (without intermission) monologue.
His interplay with audience members and great comical timing makes “An Act of God” giddy and irreverent entertainment.
God’s celestial talk sometimes slides into the suggestive, so that Millbrook’s voluntary imposed PG rating cautions that some of the theological opinions expressed contain “strong language.”
The funny finale, with the two archangels with tambourine and guitar providing imaginary backup music, has God confirming in an upbeat tune that “I Have Faith In You.”
“An Act of God” won’t test anyone’s faith, but Millbrook’s production entertainingly triggers hearty laughter and wonder as to how this Divine Holiness ever made it through the pearly gates.