photo by philip aulenbach
Michael Best’s new play Go to Hell is a funny and smart twist on the relationship between the Devil, homosexuals and the Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin and those sinners are heading for eternal damnation upon their death. It is a fun play with the potential to be a great play if honed and shaped for maximum punch, clarity and hilarity.
There is so much that is excellent in this play. Whenever Best is onstage the energy of the piece lifts because he so flawlessly captures the coy, dry, irony of his dialogue. Tara Doyle is fantastic and hilarious as Peg, the awkwardly child-like sexually repressed thirty something year old minister’s daughter eager to catch herself a husband. Gordon White gives a really nuanced performance as a marine who would rather be left to die than owe his life to a gay man. Matthew Lumley has the best death scene by electrocution I have ever seen. The theme song from the church’s “Scared Straight” program is the definite highlight of the play and I found the twist ending really satisfying.
This is an ambitious play and all the hardest work has already been done, there are just a few plot points that need to be tightened up for maximum clarity, mostly centred around the protagonist Johnson Wexford. In the play’s synopsis it says that Wexford “doesn’t identify with traditional gay culture,” which I missed really grasping in the play. I was confused a lot about Wexford because Matthew Lumley’s performance was not at all flamboyant or stereotypically “gay,” but with all the talk of tight pants (when he wasn’t wearing tight pants) and dancing with effeminate cowboys, I never got the sense that Wexford was uncomfortable with or actively rejecting gay culture. So, at times I was left confused.
I really hope that Michael Best and Hellish Theatre continues to work on this piece because it is off to a very strong start and I think it has the potential to be quite terrific.
Go To Hell plays at the Bus Stop Theatre at the following times:
Saturday, Sep 7 • 7:00
Tickets are $10.00 and are available in advance online at this website or 30 minutes before each show at the venue on the day of the performance. All tickets bought in person must be purchased with either cash or credit. For more information please visit this website or call 902.422.7604 between 10:00am and 5:00pm.