“Hand to God” at Seattle Public Theatre

“Hand to God” at Seattle Public Theatre

Hysterically funny, the funniest play I’ve seen all year, well, no, maybe in the last five years! But it’s not only funny. Playwright Robert Askins has written a wildly creative, totally unexpected, simply delightful play, and infused it with exquisite poignancy despite its irreverent humor. Kudos to Kelly Kitchens for her adroit direction of this little gem.

Here we are in a Christian church that supports a puppet club designed to reinforce the Christian message to the youth of the congregation. Unfortunately for poor, and somewhat naive, Pastor Greg (Martyn G. Krause), when Jason (Ben Burris), one of his young parishioners, introduces his hand puppet, Tyrone, things go wildly out of control. Tyrone is outrageously irreverent and impossibly behaved. To say he wrecks havoc is to understate his impact.

Puppeteer Burris is simply remarkable. He not only provides rich emotions for his human character, but at the same time controls puppet Tyrone with consummate skill and wit. Tyrone is, of course, the major character in this irreverent comedy. The puppetry is magical, and it should be mentioned that Tyrone has some of the best lines. But it’s the skill of Burris that makes Tyrone into star material.

It’s an adept cast that supports Tyrone and his handler Jason. Martyn G. Krause exquisitely captures the cluelessness and sexual hunger of Pastor Greg. Hannah Mootz brings scintillating sexual energy to the stage, and Sunam Ellis and Arjun Pande are able supporters with their own sexual interests.

For those who revel in wit and skill, this is a must see. It played on Broadway in 2015 and received 5 Tony nominations.

Through June 3, at Seattle Public Theatre (in the Bathhouse at Green Lake), 7312 West Green Lake Dr., N., 98103, Seattle, 206-524-1300, www.seattlepublictheater.org.

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