Holy Crap, King’s Head Theatre, review: ‘A lot of fun but wafer thin’

Holy Crap. Picture: Samuel Black

Holy Crap. Picture: Samuel Black - Credit: Samuel Black Photography. www.sa

A musical about an Evangelical American TV channel hitting the shores of sexually repressed Blighty should appeal

A musical about an Evangelical American TV channel hitting the shores of sexually repressed Blighty should appeal; a timely refashioned Jerry Springer the Opera – why not?

But while the songs in the Heather Brothers’ Holy Crap are exuberant and catchy, this satire fails to look at its religious subject matter in any depth and has no real bite.

Directed by Benji Sperring (who also directed the Heather Brothers’ superior Shock Treatment), the ensemble perform the opening number ‘Beam Down Your Love - to celebrate G.O.D’s new airtime - with impressive attack.

As the cast shimmy and sing His praises, there’s a pleasing cornucopia of cheesy smiles and stock character-types on display. As soon as the central conflict kicks in – their religious channel is failing so in order to survive they must re-brand as an evangelical porn station, performing reenacted sinful biblical stories – one senses trouble ahead, and I’m not talking about the convoluted plot twists, though there are those aplenty.

In the main, it’s about con man Bobby Del La Ray (John Addison - well played with his flashing teeth and perma-tan) who decrees that, after some increase in viewing numbers, his evangelical troupe need to up the ante and show real-life sin - and some perfunctory salvation - live on TV. Right-hand woman Clarissa (Rachel Marwood – impressive), cons viewers into believing she sees visions and Bobby and Clarissa drug dim-witted co-presenter Rex (Arvid Larsen) into believing that a sesame street puppet is God guiding him to join them.

For a subplot there’s Italian Vinnie (Nuno Queimado) being pursued by his gangster relatives who laundered their drug money through the TV channel and want their dues; and prim Destiny (Letitia Hector), the voice of reason, who stumbles into increasingly lurid scenarios with increasingly clunky dialogue.

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In part two, militia supporters of G.O.D TV start picking off adversaries. Storylines just about tie up and a highlight is the operatic number sung by Peter Bindloss as a blaspheming Mafiosi.

With an eye-watering array of latex paraded by the game cast, it’s a lot of fun but wafer-thin.

Rating: 2/5 stars