HALF PRICE OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

REVIEW: The Bible - The Complete Word of God (abridged)

16:08 25 April 2014

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

© Chris Hill Photographic

As Ellie and I drive to The Theatre, Chipping Norton, the skies begin to darken. And then the rain comes – driving so ferociously against our windscreen, it’s a big hint we should be urgently sourcing gopher wood. Whatever that might be.

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the MillThe Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

We’re on our way to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company perform THE BIBLE: the Complete Word of God (abridged), a show so blasphemous, it was almost banned in the normally devil-may-care province of Northern Ireland.

“It’s obvious that God is angered,” Ellie says, as the windscreen wipers struggle like Samson, post-hairdo.

“It’s the Problem of Humour,” I explain, “a long-time theological debate. As Thomas Aquinas pointed out, God must have had a sense of humour to create beings who make jokes. Obviously, with the exception of Northern Ireland, the Germans and Jim Davidson.

“Isn’t that Evil?” Ellie asks.

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the MillThe Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

“Possibly in the case of Jim Davidson jokes,” I concede.

I’ve long wanted to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company (or RSC [not that one] as I’ll refer to them from now on, for the sake of clarity and brevity). I’ve watched them on YouTube where their rendition of Hamlet was moving to the point of hysteria. I felt the mysterious nature of the ghost of Hamlet’s father – is this a real visitation from beyond the grave; a case of mass hysteria; or just a figment of Hamlet’s morbid imagination? - worked particularly well as a stuffed sock with a rudimentary face.

And now the RSC [not that one] have reduced the Bible – “the greatest story ever accepted as fact” - into chunks so manageable, God would clearly fail that very-hard-English-exam-where-you-have-to-precis-quite-a-repetitive-and-long-winded-passage. Not only that, but the RSC [not that one] unravelled some of the long-debated Biblical mysteries: what is the difference between Elijah and Elisha? The two Marys? The two Josephs? Their gift to us, as they put it, was “to render the inexplicable plicable”. Bless them for it.

We began with the definitive Genesis – when Peter Gabriel was with them – and worked our way through computers in the Garden of Eden (Eve had an Apple) right the way to the magic of Easter, as symbolised by the Easter bunny. Abraham – the Lincoln version – was shown almost sacrificing his son, in a passage so joyously comic, I’m torn between describing it to you and keeping it from you. BECAUSE YOU MUST GO AND SEE THIS FOR YOURSELF.

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the MillThe Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

The Problem of Humour was addressed sensitively throughout the production. The conclusion was that a God who led his Chosen People throughout the Middle East for 40 years before finally settling them in the only place without oil must have enjoyed a chuckle. That, and the creation of Justin Bieber, obviously.

How wonderful were the RSC! [not that one]. Their energy, knock-about, and sheer sense of humour worked brilliantly, in spite of their being American. As I sat in Chippy theatre, right beside the plaque that commemorated the “one hundred of those who through great persecution boldly and conscientiously served their God” (it used to be a Salvation Army citadel), I felt confident there was nobody in the world who could possibly be offended by this.

The questions we are left with are fundamental to humanity: can astrology really tell you how to ask your boss for a pay rise?; Are the RSC [not that one] really going to hell?; And – most puzzling of all – why do people book front-row tickets when they know it means they’ll be asked to go on stage and impersonate a duck during the Noah’s Ark scene?

Great is the mystery of alternative medicine.

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the MillThe Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at Newtownabbey Theatre at the Mill

We absolutely loved your show, RSC! [not that one]. We’ll definitely be watching your website to see when you’ll next be flying over to England, and whether or not you get struck by vengeful lightning. Your wit is more seasoned than Lot’s wife; your references more colourful than Joseph’s [not that one] coat; and your jokes are a lot more funny than those in the Book of Job. Utterly brilliant.

*******

• For more information, including tour dates, log onto www.reducedshakespeare.com
• To find out what’s on at The Theatre, Chipping Norton, visit www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Fri, 11:38
Trouble House

The Trouble House...

is based on the creative partnership of Sally David and Mariusz Dziamski, ably supported by their respective partners Tim and Monika.

Read more
Thu, 16:29
Joan Bomford

The region is successful once again at the BBC Food and Farming Awards Ceremony 2016

Read more
Adam Henson
Mon, 09:00
The Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill

After a long countryside walk in the Cotswolds there’s nothing better than refuelling with a pint and some pork scratchings in a quaint, rural pub. We pick 10 of the best (and most remote) places to go in the region.

Read more
Thursday, June 16, 2016
The Oxford Wine Festival is a unique event, when the world of wine descends on a magical city

Looking for the perfect wine? It may be closer than you think.

Read more
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Sharing Board at The Lygon Arms

Fathers Day as he would want it: Meat, cheese and wine - £30 for 2 sharing.

Read more
Monday, June 13, 2016
The Potting Shed Pub, Malmesbury

Whether you’re a loyal local or a visitor to the area, you’ll never be far from a charming real ale pub in the Cotswolds.

Read more
Cheltenham Festival
Monday, June 13, 2016
The Cotswolds Distillery

From hedge funds to hedge rows… As a native New Yorker, our Founder Dan Szor fell in love with the Cotswolds during his many family weekends spent escaping the stress of London city living...

Read more
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Chris White, Chef Owner of The White Spoon

Chris White, Chef Owner, is delighted to announce that The White Spoon was last night announced as the overall winner in the New Restaurant of the Year category of The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2016.

Read more
Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Beehive, Montpellier, Cheltenham

It’s the weekend, the sun is shining and the pub is calling your name, but where is the best place to go? Fortunately for you we’ve picked ten of the best pubs with beer gardens in Cheltenham. Enjoy, you deserve it!

Read more
Cheltenham
Monday, May 23, 2016
Eckington Manor's Mark Stinchcombe

This exclusive package includes a tasting menu designed around the dishes Mark produced on the programme. Six exquisite courses a food lovers experience to remember!

Read more
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Valentine Warner at The Wheatsheaf Inn, Lechlade

She only has 15 minutes, but Katie Jarvis ends up being fascinated by the back-to-nature ethos of chef Valentine Warner - and the food’s not bad either

Read more

Ad Feature: Eckington Manor

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Eckington Manor

Food is at the heart of what we do here at Eckington Manor.

Read more
Monday, May 16, 2016
Hemsley + Hemsley

The Lucky Onion Club is delighted to announce that they will be teaming up with healthy, food-loving sisters, Hemsley + Hemsley, to host two exclusive events on Thursday, May 19 2016 at No. 38 The Park, with tickets now on sale.

Read more
Friday, May 13, 2016
The Lygon Arms

A 14th Century Coaching Inn set in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search