Complete Bible Comedy Joins Reduced London RepDate: 10 December 2002
The Reduced Shakespeare Company will resurrect its 'blasphemous' biblical comedy in the West End in the new year. From 16 January 2003, The Bible - The Complete Word of God (abridged) will join The Complete History of America (abridged) and the company's signature production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), in repertory at the Criterion Theatre.
In 1997, The Bible had a run at the West End's Gielgud Theatre before embarking on numerous regional tours, including one early this year which took it to some 80 cities. On an earlier tour, the comedy caused a furore in Chester when a local pastor tried to block it by claiming that the play contravened common law regarding blasphemous libel by undermining the Bible and making a "complete mockery of the word of God".
In The Bible, the Reduced Shakespeare Company applies to the good book the same approach which has proved such a success with their other works, covering fig leaves to final judgement in a mere 100 minutes. The irreverent interpretation sees Jesus Christ portrayed as a Teletubby and includes Tiger Woods, Charlton Heston and the Spice Girls. The play's programme warns it is not "for people with heart ailments, back problems, theology degrees, inner ear disorders and / or people inclined to motion sickness".
The company was originally formed in 1981 in California where its members performed Hamlet to anyone who passed by on the streets of San Francisco. The Complete History of America (abridged), the West End's longest running comedy, is now in its seventh year at the Criterion, where its been running in repertoire with The Complete History of America (abridged).
- by Terri Paddock