In this witty and sweet comedy, a kooky Todd (Richard Marsh) is chosen, by an ironically down-to-earth Sarah Hirsch as God, to be the next Messiah. The tight script flows with ease, through rhyme, rhythm and reason, as Todd battles with an off stage God to save humanity. Both actors are previous Slam champions and their energy impressed throughout.
This 21st century atheist Messiah asks God all the right questions. Why are there dying babies? Why are there countless children starving? Why Hitler? But God has a Hitler klaxon, also placing due emphasis on the need for free will. A nice echo of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ is intentional I dare say. I particularly enjoyed the line ‘it beat me then and it beats me still, how you can make war out of ‘thou shalt not kill.’’
Tender moments ensue when Todd talks about his wife, Helen. His stint as the “chosen one” forces her to leave him because, duh, ‘it’s hard dating a Messiah’. But as the piece progresses, it takes a turn for the ridiculous as Todd jumps into a lion’s cage and battles with a deathly crucifix. Some of these emotional moments fail to land with due impact, as the play’s already bizarre premise escalates a bit too far. But perhaps it is the moments between Todd and Helen that are the real crux of this play. It also does not seem to say much about religion, with more of a focus on the pressures that affect everyday love and relationships.
Sometimes it feels as though Fringe shows will run out of original ideas but ‘Todd and God’ is certainly unique. However as the biggest risk of this show is making God a woman, I would have liked some more comments on religion. While this Epic poem may not match Milton, Marsh certainly impresses with his speed and dexterity. Overall a nice show with a good heart.