Hand To God premieres in Australia

Hand To God delivers the rude and chaotic world it promises, as well as yet another dirty sock to St Kilda.

By Owen James

Fractured faith, crass discourse, puppet sex and unravelled lies. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before onstage, and riotous comedy Hand To God lives up to its advertisement tag-line: “If Book Of Mormon and Avenue Q had a baby, it would be Hand To God”.

The show plays for laughs from the beginning, with little time given to set-up before filthy lines are insulting characters and audience alike. Director Gary Abrahams ensures the exposition moves quickly and this rollercoaster “to hell and back” rarely lulls.

Gyton Grantley is a delight to watch as Jason and his demonic sock puppet Tyrone. With an incredible physical performance and genuinely jaw-dropping puppetry, Grantley handles every comedic high and emotional nuance of the two characters without a hitch.

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Photographs: Angel Leggas

The chaotic character arc of damaged mother Margery is presented by the manic and wild Alison Whyte, with insolent teenager Timothy (Jake Speer) as her unlikely partner. Both bring unbridled energy and some of the biggest laughs to the show.

Grant Piro is a hilarious highlight as Pastor Greg, worth the ticket price alone for his riotous caricature, and Morgana O’Reilly as initially innocent Jessica steals scenes and laughs – especially in the boisterous climax of the play.

Jacob Battista’s set is ingenious, packing every moment into the Alex Theatre. The colourful set is matched with equally colourful costumes from Chloe Greaves, that tell us everything we need to know about these characters before they open their mouths. Lighting by Amelia Lever-Davidson and sound by Ian Moorhead expand the atmosphere of conservative Texas, and help tiny Tyrone take over the whole theatre in his bigger moments.

Hand To God delivers the rude and chaotic world it promises, but there are surprisingly emotional and poetic moments to be found amidst the chaos. Audiences of South Park or Family Guy will be right at home with this brash and outspoken comedy.

Hand To God plays at Alex Theatre until 18 March.  Tickets can be purchased online and by calling the box office on 03 8534 9300.