Devilish sacrilege in a Texas church

Gyton Grantley as Jason with his puppet Tyrone in Hand To God. Photo: Angel Leggas

THEATRE REVIEW of Hand To God, reviewed by Danny Gocs.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

BE prepared for plenty of surprises when three youths gather in the recreation room of a church in a small Texas town to prepare for a puppet show under the leadership of nerdy Pastor Greg (Grant Piro) and prim mum Margery (Alison Whyte) in Hand To God at the Alex Theatre, St Kilda.

Margery’s shy 15-year-old son Jason has a cute hand puppet named Tyrone, but shocks everyone when Tyrone displays a dark, mean character laced with obscenities and blasphemy.

Gyton Grantley, well-known to TV viewers for roles in Underbelly and House Husbands, takes on the challenging twin roles of Jason and Tyrone with aplomb. There’s no ventriloquism involved, just two contrasting characters in a fine performance.

Jason has eyes on Jessica (Morgana O’Rielly) but Tyrone interferes by trying to speed up their dating, while bad-boy Timothy (Jake Speer) gets involved in a surprising relationship with a frazzled Margery.

There’s a steady stream of laughs and clever sight gags in the irreligious satire from the pen of Robert Askins, while also delivering more serious messages about right and wrong, relationships and hypocrisy.

In the first act, director Gary Abrahams keeps the action moving at a speedy pace with clever scene changes, but seemed somewhat drawn out and over the top in the second act.

Hand To God is at the Alex Theatre, St Kilda until March 18. Bookings: