Heresy Project: Kill Your God
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Censored in Leicester, Banned in Swansea, and Acclaimed in Brighton, The Heresy Project’s mission is to eradicate all religious persecution once and for all, by the simple process of eradicating all religion….
God is the new Margaret Thatcher… and I bet you weren’t expecting to read that sentence in a comedy review.
But, like the Tories in the Eighties, religion is the one reference a comedian need only mention to guarantee a good reaction – making them sound edgy while, in truth, they are merely reinforcing their audience’s prejudices.
In these times, in this country, it would be more outrageous to declare a faith than deride one – even if some venues have taken issue with the Heresy’s Projects provocative subtitle ‘Kill Your God’. It is right and proper that atheism is the prevailing mood – but with so many stand-ups having come out as godless, it really takes something special to stand out.
The Heresy Project, unfortunately, lack the intellectual vigour or creative imagination to do that. They do have an extravagance of performance – call it shoutiness, if you prefer – that brings a raw, angry energy to their point of view. But it’s a point of view with which most people will be very familiar, which unfortunately takes a lot of the sting out of it.
Their argument is little advanced from the playground; that religion is a matter of having an imaginary friend who, just sometimes, might persuade you to fly a plane into a couple of office blocks. How daft is it to believe that? You might as well believe in Santa Claus…
Bombastic Scouser Rick Molland and sarcastic Kiwi Sully O’Sullivan expound this simple argument in a series of baby steps, each one of them stating the obvious. And this Dawkins For Dummies hour is a little too heavily scripted, too, with little attempt at creating the illusion of spontaneity in their double-act banter.
But despite this, they do build up an impressive head of steam for the finale. Again the line they take is childishly smart-arse: ‘Well, if there is a God, why doesn’t he strike me down…’ but taking it to the natural conclusion. Thus, egged on by O’Sullivan, Mollard goads some of the major modern deities with increasingly brutal aggression, with furiously zealous rants aimed solely at causing maximum offence to any believers who’ve made it this far. It’s not especially artful, but you can’t deny the passion.
The Heresy Project is rather a blunt instrument to tackle theism – but since this vicious duo intend to stove in religion’s metaphorical head, rather than defeat it with incontrovertible logic, a blunt instrument is probably the best tool for the messy job.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Brighton Fringe, May 2009