Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends (A Final Evening With the Illuminati), Wing & Groove Theatre. Larry Larson and Levi Lee’s dark comedy–about the half-mad Reverend Eddie and Brother Lawrence, living in a bombed-out church sanctuary in the aftermath of some horrible war–seems much less paranoid than it did the last time I saw it, which was five years ago. Then Reverend Eddie’s ravings about the dangers of a nerve gas seemed just that, ravings. Today–well, they still sound like ravings, but more like the ones I hear on CNN and Fox. Likewise the idea of ending one’s days holed up somewhere and living on canned food doesn’t seem as crazy as it did then.
Director Amy Tourne does a great job connecting this 1981 script with contemporary paranoia. Often the humor of Reverend Eddie comes from his apparent anachronism, as if he were a mad medieval monk. But in this production Todd Guill’s reverend seems very much a man of our time, angry and terrified. Guill is hilarious, delivering his lines like some crazier version of the rabid conservative commentators currently swarming on cable, his eyes burning with indignation, his voice alternately bullying and petulant. Playing off Guill’s methed-up George Will is Chris Genebach as Brother Lawrence, a sweet-tempered straight man who’s like some nutty version of George Stephanopoulos.