Mother of God! takes its title quite literally as a comical interpretation of the story of Jesus' mother. Miriam, a young Jewish maid finds herself betrothed to one of the richest and most revered men in her town, Joseph. It just so happens that Joseph is at least twice her age and pious to the point of absurdity. And as luck would have it, Miriam is seduced and impregnated by a messenger of God in human form on the day of her betrothal. And if you saw this human form, you wouldn't blame her.

Meanwhile, a con artist of a priest ropes in a trade merchant and a Chinese astrologist to convince the much unfavored King Herod that the new "celestial body" in the sky is the sign of the birth of a new king. The king pays them well to investigate the phenomenon (i.e., "follow that [st]ar").

Miriam has to deal with a well-meaning drunk of a father, a mother who pushes guilt like crack in the 80's, a fiance who is still dealing with the public shame of his first wife's infidelity, and the burden of telling them all that she's a pregnant virgin.

Did I mention her favorite aunt and confidante is the psychic ex-girlfriend of said fiancé?

The great thing about this show is how much it doesn't take itself too seriously. The production's nod to to classic silent film is most obvious in the set changes, which featured a hokey soundtrack and comically exaggerated exchanged gestures between characters. And the recurring description of the black Miriam as fair and pale became the show's running gag. While this show falls safely in the category of comedy, it has intense, heavy and even suspenseful moments. Furthermore, coming from a very religious upbringing, I appreciated the parallels to the biblical story as well as the creative liberties that the show takes with the original story lines.

Mother of God!
Richmond Shepard Theater
By Michele A. Miller
Directed by Melody Brooks
309 e 26th St

Through March 26th
Wed—Sat, 8pm
Sun, 3pm

Tickets are $18 ($15 for students/seniors) and are available through TheaterMania or by calling 212-352-3101.

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