Brighton Fringe 2010
A well-researched and witty one man show in which Christ returns to Earth, but He doesn’t get through U.S. immigration because He’s a bearded, Middle Eastern guy who wants to die as a martyr.
Abie Philbin Bowman introduces this show as ‘stories that don’t necessarily go anywhere’ – in other words, as stand-up comedy. Wearing an orange jump suit and a crown of thorns he moves into a succession of quick fire one-liners and gags with references to Monty Python, his ‘dad’, and a whole plethora of social and political references. These are all well referenced and, as the show progresses, serious messages emerge not only regarding religion and Guantanamo, but also subjects such as terrorism, drugs and immigration. At times he breaks into song and accompanies himself on harmonica and guitar with a bit of audience participation to provide the percussion.
The show makes witty points using real life examples. He has obviously done his homework and talks knowledgeably about his subject. He made political jokes such as comparing Guantanamo with Kentucky Fried Chicken, and offered well thought out points of view such as that the kid US soldiers are just as much victims as the detainees.
The work was derivative (Python, Hicks, the Bible, etc.) but was good quality, political and made important points about the War on Terror, including mocking the white liberal European audience who may be feeling sanctimonious about America’s actions.
As a performer Bowman came across as very confident, professional and relaxed. He made some obvious connections with Bill Hicks, a clear inspiration that most of the audience may have failed to grasp. His material was evidently delivered from the heart and towards the end he began to come out of the Jesus character and mentioned other shows he performs on subjects such as obesity – then finished with an explanation of his political views in relation to the forthcoming election, which was appreciated by the audience.
This show is popular and rightly so. Bowman is engaging; his delivery is fast paced and his material well thought out. This reviewer also greatly appreciated the play –in and play-out music, which included tracks such as Johnny Cash’s version of ‘My Own Personal Jesus’ and finished with a track from William Shatner. Classic!