In The Roman Catholic Mime Collective, Jesus Is a Slapstick Mime in Whiteface
Photo by Meghan McConnell
Although the canonical gospels are silent on whether Jesus had much in the way of a sense of humor, creator-performer David Nott is hardly so circumspect. His loopy, nonverbal evening of Christ-impersonating mime, The Roman Catholic Mime Collective, fairly rushes in where Matthew, Mark, Luke and John sensibly feared to tread.
Nott’s irreverent, hourlong testament features the actor in traditional mime whiteface and freshly crucified Jesus drag — replete with loincloth, crown of thorns and red Magic Marker stigmata — pantomiming 24 gently mocking riffs on familiar Passion iconography as well as certain tenets of transubstantiation and consubstantiality.
The best of the bits, which include Nott plugging his leaky foot wounds to better walk on water, or surfing on the cross to The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out,” achieve a playful surrealism comparable to the old Gary Larson comic strip The Far Side. The misfires — and there are far too many — tend to get lost in the illegibility of Nott’s overly slapdash technique. In mashing up Christology with mime, The Roman Catholic Mime Collective too often allows one or the other to fall out of its satirically incongruous sights.
Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; through Jan. 30. (818) 508-3003, eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
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