Bigger Than Jesus
A theatrical and spiritual experience
A one-man show about Jesus faces the danger of being predictably subversive or comfortingly reaffirming. Bigger Than Jesus thankfully manages to avoid clichés and offers a multi-media, schizophrenic, high-paced discussion about the Messiah.
Initially taking the form of a witty whiteboard lecture about the apostles, actor Rick Miller soon morphs from a revivalist Deep South preacher to a dot.com Jesus who answers prayers on an Apple Mac. Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar" is blasted out in a hilarious musical puppet show about the Last Dinner, featuring Homer Simpson, Darth Vader and other similarly incongruous figures.
There are also strains of Mel Gibson's epic film in the unsettlingly realistic sound effects of the whippings. On the surface, the production may be considered an informative and often humorous commentary on Christianity in Western society. However, its true merit lies in the play's ability to engage in intelligent discussions within a sensuous, spiritual and often disturbing experience.
The audience is forced to play an 'amen to that' congregation (audience participation has never been so painless) and subjected to a simulated plane crash which is as brilliant as it is horrible. Rick Miller sweats his way through the energetic performance and demands the same from the audience (be warned, the overheated room may have something to do with this). The play leaves you enlightened, excited and exhausted; both a theatrical and spiritual experience of sorts.