'The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,' Now at Convergence-Continuum, Still Offers Loads of Gaiety

It's Adam and Steve and it's full of laughs

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click to enlarge The play runs through Dec. 17 - Photo by Neil Sudhakaran
Photo by Neil Sudhakaran
The play runs through Dec. 17

In the world according to Paul Rudnick, God created Adam and Steve. And they're gay. And they like it that way. Rudnick, the acclaimed playwright (I Hate Hamlet), screenwriter (Sister Act), and humorist (countless hilarious essays in The New Yorker), wrote his version of the Old Testament—"The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told"— about 20 years ago and it's been kicking around ever since. Now it's landed at Convergence-Continuum Theatre, and while several of his topical japes and jabs have lost some of their punch, there are still more LOL moments in this play than in most other comedy scripts.

It all begins, of course, in the Garden of Eden where Adam (a yearningly innocent Alex Strzemilowski) and Steve (Noah Pigza) begin to express their affection for each other. As the first act works its way through famous Bible stories as seen from a gay perspective, we meet not Cain and Abel but Jane (Grace Mitri) and Mabel (Lucy Turner), a nice lesbian couple. When Adam asks butch Mabel why she's wearing clothes, she sensibly replies that she needed pockets. And when Steve asks the enduring question directed at lesbians, "What do you do together?" Jane says, "We kiss and lick and suck and finger." Okay, then.

The script is just as direct throughout, not apologizing and not justifying. It includes an entirely new take on Noah's ark, picturing it like a Carnival Cruise Line jaunt with a lot of action taking place below decks. Suffice to say that Steve gets hit on by a Rhino bartender and when Jane is accused of a dalliance with a fetching porker she shrugs and responds, "It was a pig...in a blanket!"

Back on land, a lot more people show up and Adam and Steve are shocked to learn that men have sex with women. These reversals form much of the humor of Rudnick's conceit, and a lot of it works hilariously. The Egyptian Pharoah Amenhotep (David L. Munnell, who plays several characters that range from gay to really, really gay) arrives to torment the boys when he's not diddling his own boy-toy.

Much of the fun is concentrated in the first act, when the comical switches happen with startling speed. During the second act that takes place in contemporary Adam and Steve's 1990s New York apartment at Christmas, some of the jokes rely too much on topical issues that have long since lost their snap (Oprah punchlines) and on NYC-specific references ("How can you tell seagulls are lesbians?" "Ponchos.")

Still, there are surprises when bull-dyke-for-eons Mabel turns out to be with child ("It's like if Ralph Kramden got pregnant!"), followed by her childbirth and a therapy session with lesbian, wheelchair-bound Rabbi Sharon (Amanda Rowe Van Allen). Frankly, Rudnick's play runs out of steam during the second act as it continues to pummel the audience into exhaustion with bits that could have easily and mercifully been cut.

But the talented Con-Con cast (including Haley Johnson, Ricky Quintana and Katelyn Cornelius), under the direction of Denise Astorino, invests every wacky character with energy and intent. So, Rudnick's serious ulterior motive in this joyously irreverent piece never gets lost: Love among consenting adults endures, as it should, and fuck it if you can't take a joke.

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told
Through December 17 at Convergence-Continuum Theater performing at The Liminis Theater, 2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland, 216-687-0074, convergence-continuum.org.

About The Author

Christine Howey

Christine Howey has been reviewing theater since 1997, first at Cleveland Free Times and then for other publications including City Pages in Minneapolis, MN and The Plain Dealer. Her blog, Rave and Pan, also features her play reviews. Christine is a former stage actor and director, primarily at Dobama Theatre...
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