The Jesus Hickey

Billboards, potato chips, freeway underpasses, tree stumps and pigeon coops are just some of the places Christ’s image has appeared, or alleged to appear, in recent years. In Luke Yankee’s ticklish comedy, the Savior-sighting takes place in the Emerald Isle city of Sligo, and comes by way of a girl as pure as the Virgin mother herself. Agnes Flynn (Anastasia Lofgren) is a wholesome teenager who shares a home with her imperious grandmother (Barbara Tarbuck), and her gruff, barfly father Sean (Harry Hamlin). They seem like a happy bunch, in spite of money problems due in large measure to Sean’s drinking and troubles on the job. But a miracle is in the offing, as one night Agnes and her young beau Seamus (Aaron Leddick) slip away for some quiet time together, and he plants a “love bite,” on her neck. As it turns out, the hickey is the face of Jesus and has miraculous healing powers, even curing the dim-witted Father Boyle (Tom Killam) of chronic back pain. In Act 2, we see Agnes transformed into an angelic figure and a media sensation, with all that implies, making the rounds in Europe — and making a lot of money for her avaricious father. Unfortunately, the fame comes with a price for all concerned that may be too much to pay. Yankee’s well-written script nimbly skirts the boundaries between morality play, satire and comedy. Performances are quite good under Yankee’s direction. Tarbuck is especially engrossing as a saintly woman with a penchant for foul language. Katselas Theatre Company at the Skylight Theater, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., LA., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through July 18. (310) 358-9936.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 12. Continues through July 11, 2010

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