Treasure in Clay Jars is listed in the Theatre Section of the Fringe Programme. It is about as theatrical as a Sunday morning visit from the local evangelicals.
The title comes from 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 7. That should have been warning enough. Could Yale Divinity Students deliver what the Fringe programme promised, an exploration of loss, violence, camaraderie, and maybe some light puking? No they could not.
The company, Ezekiel Bread, consists of Kate, Charlie, and Justin, who are personable enough. The show even opened quite promisingly, with a medieval jig of mouth trumpet and belly percussion. There was a disconcerting questionnaire passed round for the audience – mainly pious Edinbourgeoises from the local congregation – to fill in: ‘What is faith in the twentieth century?’ or ‘What did you have for lunch today?’ I passed on both. The attempts to improvise a discussion of faith in food metaphors based on audience answers was spirited, but had the dead hand of ecclesiastical humour all over it.
The trio’s main section was serio-comic sketches on life in Yale Divinity School, a subject of hardly urgent interest to any outsider. I couldn’t help thinking that the doubts and tribulations of these well-mannered, well-fed students were something of a luxury, not to mention a bore. And it went on and on. Microphones and sound systems failed and sketches obstinately refused to take off because the cast still had scripts in their hand. However, behind it all there was an unspoken assumption of rather smug superiority, even where confessions of lapses from virtue were intended to say, ‘Actually, we’re just the same as you.’
If these three came to my door on Sunday, I would slam it in their faces. Thank God it’s only on two nights.