JUDAS’ MOTHER, Griffin Theatre Company. Chad Beguelin’s comedy has one great thing going for it: it pulls very few punches. The vicious script–which imagines Jesus and Judas as childhood chums–is a demented mix of Woody Allen-style one-liners and grotesque soap opera histrionics. The only passion in this play is Reba Iscariot’s overwhelming contempt for her Goody Two-shoes neighbor, Mary–“I wouldn’t let her carry my lunch, let alone the son of God,” she sniffs at one point. Throw in some profanity-laced tirades and jokes about immaculate conception and crucifixion, and Judas’ Mother is about as brazenly sacrilegious as a play gets.
Beguelin’s anachronisms never fail to draw laughs. But when he attempts to force closure, tacking on a maudlin ending, he betrays the script’s comic tone. And the pretentious, sloppy Greek chorus scenes that open each act don’t mesh particularly well with the rest of the play. Judas’ Mother might make a remarkably tight one-act, but stretched over two hours Beguelin’s material begins to wear a little thin. Griffin Theatre does its best to cover any holes, however, with a seamless production. Ryan Patterson’s staging is fluid and brisk, and the entire cast contributes enthusiastic performances–especially Bridget Dehl in the title role. Even when Beguelin’s script sputters to a halt, Dehl’s sneering, gleefully malicious Reba makes it all worthwhile. –Nick Green