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Tree House Lounge

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Thursday, July 16 at 9:45 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at 5:05 p.m.

They say: In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light,” but first!… join His Greatness, moments before The Big Bang, and he’ll perform miracles for your entertainment. Get ready to be created!

Brett’s Take: Plenty of shows have great, clever concepts, but there’s something particularly impressive about turning a bad concept into quality entertainment. It certainly sounds like a recipe for an awkward, self-important, misguided Fringe show, this one; but, luckily, creator/star/designer Rich Potter is the kind of guy who can find the simple joy in a willfully dumb idea. To put it another way: he’s a talented clown.

Potter states that his inspiration for the show was the question, “What was God doing before He created the universe?” Apparently, the answer is: goofing around with some folks he borrowed from the 21st century on “Earth #26” (that’s us). As Joan Osborne asks in that familiar song piped in after show’s end, “What if God was one of us?” Well, if He was, why shouldn’t He be a total ham? Some of us certainly are. For example, Rich Potter.

There’s no real storyline to discuss here. Your enjoyment of the show depends entirely on your enjoyment of Potter and his cheerfully cheesy antics. He does stage magic, some of it an excuse for lame puns, some of it quite decent. He finds some silly God-related excuses to bring audience members onstage and mess around with them. He makes fun of himself, conjuring up reasons why, despite being the all-powerful Lord, he chooses to appear to us in the form of a middle-aged white guy. All the while, Potter amuses himself, and most of the time he amuses us, too.

As far as theology goes, there’s no Christian apologetics or atheist doubt or any such stuff here. Occasionally Potter pokes at something deeper, as when he uses an apple to deliver a cleverly simple environmental message, but it’s never particularly religion-related.

Some of the time, he recalls sweetly ridiculous late-period Robin Williams. At others he wanders into Douglas Adams territory, making winky-faced satirical points about human nature. But he is at all times himself, smiling, improvising ably whenever something doesn’t go quite as planned, and seeming utterly delighted whenever he gets a reaction from his audience – or whenever he doesn’t, because it means he has a chance to try again to draw us out.

Playing God as an excuse to clown around, and clowning as an excuse to play God: Perhaps Potter’s is not the unlikeliest conception of the Creator, after all.

See it if: You’d happily sit and watch while a funny friend of yours messed around with some props and costumes for an hour or so.

Skip it if: You’re looking to have a religious experience.

Photo courtesy of Rich Potter