Washington City Paper - November 13-19, 2003

Anger Box Calling all you sworn enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ, his minions, and his counterparts. Take up your abortion tools and your tempeh-stained copies of The World Famous Atheist Cookbook and hie thee over to the Source Theatre, where Cherry Red Productions is giving a spirited (if decidedly unspiritual) airing to the secular-humanist self-congratulation-fest that is Jeff Goode's Anger Box. Goode, as usual, laces high-concept camp with stinging satire, but he's fighting well above his weight class, using a string of 10 monologues to throw windmill punches at the notion that anyone could possibly believe in God. The playwright settles for tossing out caricatures of the religiose and assorted other nutjobs to all us lefty loosies who revile religion as the root of all evil. The script adds up to a variety show of ridicule, with Goode seeming to hardly care if the monologues thematically converse and the evening quickly sinking into a succession of laugh lines--along with the usual Cherry Red method of fishing for giggles just by saying things like "papal semen" out loud. Even in its funnier scenes, as when the goddess Nike (Monique LaForce) lays out her grudge against the fellow deity who made the brilliantly careerist name change to "God," Box seldom floats above the level of Saturday Night Live set piece. Still, director Michelle T. Hall has inspired her cast, especially Jenny Morris as Charon, the Wisconsin-accented waitress of the underworld, and Kate Debelack, who brings deliciously misplaced intensity to her virgin obsessed with having the pope's baby. "There's something about him," she says. "He's so infallible--you just want to fuck him up!" But Box is really just preaching to the converted. (RLL) Source Theatre 1835 14th St. NW. Fridays & Saturdays at 11 p.m. $15 to Dec. 27 (202) 298-9077