Described as “Sesame Street meets The Exorcist” by the New Yorker, Robert Askins’ Hand To God – considered one of the funniest and filthiest broadway show in years – finally arrives in Australia at The Alex Theatre, St Kilda for a limited season from 22 February 2018.
Exploring the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind, in this pure black comedy – which received five Tony Award nominations in 2015 including Best Play – something devilish is lurking in a church basement puppet show in Cypress, Texas. And his name is… Tyrone. He may look like an innocent sock puppet, but when he infiltrates the angst-ridden church youth group and takes possession of Jason’s arm, all hell breaks loose.
Spectacularly foul-mouthed and wickedly scandalous, Tyrone shocks the congregation with his outrageous insinuations, exposing their deepest secrets – and teaching us all about love, grief and what it means to be human. Following on from Broadway and London runs, this darkly delightful and wildly funny comedy will equally shock and delight audiences.
With rehearsals well underway, Producer Aleksander Vass invited Melbourne’s media into The Alex Theatre last week for a sneak peak of Askins’ critically acclaimed play, introducing director Gary Abrahams (Angels In America, Bad Jews) and his stellar cast… and of course, Tyrone!
“Gary has a feel for comedy like very few people I know and Hand to God requires a director who can unleash its subversively brash and outrageous spirit,” said Vass. “Gary previously directed Bad Jews for us and I knew he was the perfect choice to helm this production.”
Hand To God features Gyton Grantley (House Husbands) as the shy and awkward Jason, whose seemingly lifeless hand puppet, Tyrone, begins to take on a life of its own; Alison Whyte (Faith Healer) as his mother Margery; Grant Piro (Hello Dolly!) as Pastor Greg; Jake Speer (Kinky Boots) as Timothy; and Morgana O’Reilly (Neighbours) as Jessica. The creative team includes: Jacob Battista (Scenic Design), Amelia Lever-Davidson (Lighting Design), Chloe Greaves (Costume Design) and Ian Moorhead (Sound Design).
“When I first read the script I knew I had to do it,” said Abrahams. “I hadn’t laughed so much or so loudly in ages, and I was so taken with the daring of Robert Askins writing. It’s an incredibly smart and very funny new play that reveals itself to be something quite special.”
“Hand To God is truly outrageous – there are moments that make you scream with horror and laughter at the same time. I guess you could say it’s a simple story about a puppet who takes over the hand – then the life – of a small-town teen, tearing up the stage as he does it.”
Hand To God
The Alex Theatre, 1 / 135 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Season: 22 February – 18 March 2018
Information and Bookings: www.handtogod.com.au
Image: Gyton Grantley & Tyrone – photo by Jim Lee