Church Night

Church Night takes place as a monthly variety show in Washington DC, where they attract large crowds every night. In the small studio space at Surgeon’s Hall, the atmosphere is considerably more intimate but perhaps equally as entertaining. Born from a desire to escape their strict Mid-Western upbringing in the USA, these artists have come together to create a tongue-in-cheek parody of those mornings in church remembered with so little fondness from childhood. Fusing religious terminology with heavy sexual innuendo, the entire production is innocently filthy in a most pantomime fashion.

This company throw themselves entirely into the parody, including the creation of an order of service for every audience member

The service is delivered by three characters: playing organ music on the smallest imaginable keyboard as we enter is reformed Youth Minister Kathy Piechota (Lindsay Deming). With a friendly, lilting voice that wouldn’t be out of place at a nursery group, Deming introduces the evening and narrates the tales of how each member of the team came to find God. Alongside her, the Reverend Dr. Stevedore Maybelline Bidet Esq. is played by Landon Lezkus, who brings a wonderfully geeky enthusiasm to the role. I particularly enjoyed his tenuous re-interpretation of the Ten Commandments, a fine example that any message can be drawn from the Bible in the right context.

Our third character, Randy St. Oates Jr. (Jeremy Frank), does not speak throughout and is treated as a cross between a handyman and a simpleton by both Peichota and Bidet. Despite the potential for a big reveal during the show, as he is dressed in a highly unconventional and even risqué manner, this never arrives. I felt that the potential for character development was definitely overlooked here, but this would perhaps add more narrative complexity than is needed when the joy of this production is in its simplicity.

The conflict between Bidet and Piechota’s schoolteacher style of delivery and the material covered is what forms the crux of the humour in Church Night. For the most part, the production confidently balances the delicate line of parody between relevant commentary and irrelevant mockery. It is impossible to ignore the explicit language used throughout – the phrase 'suck a bag of dicks in hell' occurs at least once – yet the sheer absurdity of the situation is what makes it entertaining.

The cheeky vicar scenario is by no means an original premise, but this company throw themselves entirely into the parody – including the creation of an order of service for every audience member – which is what makes Church Night so fun to watch. As a non-church goer, I may say that this show is a great satirical piece on the hypocrisy of the establishment. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but for a bizarre and brilliant find at the Fringe you won’t go wrong with this.

Reviews by Katie Rose

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The Blurb

Come together, at the same time, in the name of The Lord! Washington DC’s alternative comedy staple, Church Night, is a Middle America church service run by a sexually ambiguous reverend, a former prostitute youth minister, and a scantily-clad altered boy.