December 12, 2013
Witness protection, a death warrant, an over baring mother, a pregnant wife, and John the Baptist as your close meddling cousin all makes for a hysterical comedy Directed by Jeff Rodland.
PACA's production of "Christmas II: Return Of the Nativity" was written by author Jeff Goode and gives us insight into the life of Jesus after the nativity and before his crucifixion. Goode brings humanity and humor to a story that is often recited as anything but.
Jason Fried stars as the indecisive Jesus who is faced with a death warrant and unable to claim his rightful place as the "newborn" king. Fried's performance is spellbinding, natural, and forceful. Much like a snake charmer, Fried keeps the audience not only on the edge of their seats, but also completely festinated as he plays not only his part to perfection, but the audience like a well-trained Cobra.
Linda Kemp offers a stunning performance as the Virgin Mary, hilariously portraying her as stereotypical Jewish mom with chutzpa. No one is good enough for her little boy and she's going to let that be known. Gossiping, meddling and overbearing, this mom will give any housewife of New Jersey a run for her money.
Margo Wolfe as Maggie/Mary, the pregnant live-in girlfriend of Jesus and arch nemesis of the Virgin Mary has her role cut out for her. Married to the son of God and forever deemed as a whore by her "mother-in-law", this woman's woes could be the subject of any "Dear Abby" column. This actress however, carves out her role and stands out as a sensation.
Flowing all too naturally to this new comer to the theatrical stage, Digg-it Dave Schroeder stars in duel roles as both John the Baptist and Joseph. The role of John the Baptist is brilliantly portrayed as the kibitzing cousin of Jesus. Whether alive or as a ghost with his head on a platter, this John the Baptist tries to convince Jesus to claim his rightful place as the King of the Jews, and the son of God. This well-known local musician shows off his real artistic versatility as a true performer, delivering a captivating performance.
Enchantingly played by Howard Savoy, the Orient King is obsessed with knowing the date of Jesus' birth, and finding the "newborn king" to convince him to claim the thrown. Laurie Savoy is a comedic wonder as the Orient Queen who, fed up with her husband's musings, she seeks nothing but peace. With tongue twisting lines, over the top and humorous accents, the real life husband and wife duo of Howard and Laurie Savoy are comedic wonders as their performances could give Desi and Lucy a lesson or two.
Amy Gilwicz Fuchs in a duel role as the Shepherd Lass and a lamb is a triumph. She is simply hilarious as the blind shepherd, looking for a new shepherd to guide her beloved sheep. Also in a duel role as not only a sheep but a shepherd as well, Sean Morgan continues to show his acting stamina and great talent as a real gem of the local theatre scene.
The Angel, or shall we say the Angel without a purpose after the nativity, portrayed by Leslie Ford draws the audience into her character. Whether drunk in a bar, swinging on a pole or shouting profanities at the audience, this girl gives new meaning to both "high caliber acting" and "disgruntled."
A script that turns the table on any Jesus story that you've ever heard, seemingly genuine New York accents, and Santa as a "scrooge like ghost" of Christmas Future all adds to this wonderful, must see production of this off the wall, Avant-garde comedy.
Packed with wit, amazing performances, dazzling directing, and all out hilarity, "Christmas II: Return Of the Nativity" keeps your mind reeling and your laughter rolling and is extremely entertaining, though a bit controversial.
Continuing this Friday and Saturday, December 12th and the 13th at PACA located at 1505 State St, the doors will open for this play's final weekend at 7:30 with performances starting at 8:00pm each night.
For more information and reservations, please www.paca1505.com