Some Fresno Reviews…

Here are a few reviews for “Jesus In Montana” from the Rogue Festival site – audience members can write their own reviews. I’ve picked some of my favorites, because that’s how marketing works…If you want to read the ones that said I sucked, you’ll just have to go to the site yourself…

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* If you’re thinking about seeing this, go for it! Charmingly random, comically overwhelming at times, and surprisingly funny for the subject matter. There are some wonderful multi-media moments.

* This show is going to make you laugh. You will probably laugh out loud, louder than you might usually in public. But don’t expect it to make you come away with some new insight into the inner workings of religion, cults, or the questions that have plagued humankind. I think the funniest thing (not really the funnies thing, but funny to me) was seeing a camera man from one of the news stations film about five minutes of the show and then leaving knowing that he wasn’t going to be able to use any of the footage, which is to say that there is a fair share of profanity, blasphemy and lewd storytelling. This one is worth seeing, though not at the top of my list.

* Fast-paced and hilarious! I loved the visual presentations, even learned some new Beatles trivia when it came to the Paul is Dead rumors. The show illustrates so humorously how faith and fears prey on the impressionable mind. It helps to validate for me that all religions are based on collective superstition that’s agreed upon! A unique and clever show! Highly entertaining! Go see it!!!

* I went to see this show on its Sunday morning set, so I think it qualifies as the required religious experience . . . Anyway, it was a lot of fun and laughs, great multimedia experience, I recommend to everyone! BTW Barry does a great job of promoting his show. He came by my venue, told us a little bit and I was hooked! Oh, oh had I been brainwashed?

* Go see the show, it is good!

* OK, most people found this one worth the ticket…seemed to being repeating lines and laughing on the way out..
Quick assessment is this is in at least the “Don’t Miss Unless You Win the Lottery” group..B!

* You MUST see this show! Hilarious, witty, soul-searching trip of personal and spiritual discovery. Barry Smith is a consumate storyteller and performer. Great use of visual and audio effects. Best thing I’ve seen at the Rogue this year.

* At once laugh-out-loud hilarious and get-misty-eyed poignant, this show tells the story of a young man’s search to find God; he takes this quest a little too seriously as he joins an obscure cult and travels the west trying to convert others to his newfound faith in the third reincarnation of Christ–a doctor-cum-felon living in Missoula, Montana.

* Smith is a masterful storyteller, and his use of photographs and homemade film is particularly lovely. Don’t miss this show.

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And the “official” Fresno Bee review, from their web site…

Rogue Review
Jesus In Montana
by Donald Munro

As a child, Barry Smith never liked hearing the story of how God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. When God stopped the killing at the last moment and told Abraham it was just a test of faith, it was if He had said, “Abe, you’ve been punked,” Smith says.

It was pretty clear early in his childhood that Smith, whose well-crafted “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult” solo performance at the Rogue is a solid and appealing show, had a turbulent relationship with religion. Going from small-town Southern boy to drug-addled California hippie, he was the kind of introspective soul who was drawn not only to various forms of organized religion but also some eccentric offshoots. It isn’t too hard to believe that he ended up in an informal commune of sorts in Montana, practically worshipping a Baha’i breakaway prophet named Paul who proclaimed himself the new incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Smith, from Aspen, Colo., has a polished and professional stage presence. He also has an interesting and distinctive story, which is a tremendously important part of any solo show. (It takes a lot to keep an audience entranced for 45 minutes or even an hour when it’s just you on stage.) With the help of a slick multimedia presentation that includes old family movies, goofy graphics and PowerPoint interludes, he illustrates his brisk monologue with a variety of eye-appealing visuals. Smith’s crisp comic timing and easy-going manner makes him easy and comfortable to listen to.

At 60 minutes, the show is just a touch too long; there’s a point about two-thirds of the way through, when he’s detailing some of his extended romps as a traveling evangelist for his “Jesus,” when the momentum stalls. (Needless to say, this is not a show for those who have no interest in poking fun at organized religion.) But Smith’s story benefits from a simply terrific “plot twist” that allows him to wrap up his tale with real flair.

The result: an energetic, zippy and funny show. “Jesus in Montana” isn’t a mere comedy routine; it’s a fascinating character sketch and journey into a cult-susceptible mind. No wonder it’s one of the top shows in this year’s Rogue.

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And, finally, THIS really cool entry/review from Dan Jensen’s blog.

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