The reviews came out last week, but, well, I was distracted (see earlier post) so I’m just now posting them:
From the Winnipeg Free Press–
Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult
“Did I really hitchhike up to Montana and accept an 80-year-old pedophile as my lord and saviour?”
Did he ever.
But Colorado humourist Barry Smith has a perfectly good explanation of how that, and his three-year stint in a Doomsday cult, came to be backed up by graphs, numerology, biblical passages, and photographs of the alleged Messiah in Missoula. How he manages to cover his surreal spiritual journey from budding Southern Baptist to pot-smoking college drop-out who decided” God is kind of a jerk,” to “certified guru-aholic” in 60 minutes is a miracle in itself. (He has a little help from a divinely funny Power Point presentation).
Smith is such a skilled and passionate storyteller that he could have crafted a riveting one-man show out of his boyhood on the Mississippi Delta alone.
Instead, we’re blessed with a gutsy, gut-busting and brilliantly told account of misguided devotion that is hugely entertaining and gently thought-provoking. It may, however, leave you with two burning questions:
What am I committed to with my whole being? And, is Paul McCartney dead?
— Carolin Vesely
And from the CBC –
Reasonable doubt can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes, for example, it sets murderers/pro-football players free. And sometimes, it makes you believe that Jesus has returned in the form of an 80-year-old ex-con living in Montana. That’s the true story Barry Smith relates in this sort of disturbing, but mostly very funny, monologue. Barry tells us how a rather selective interpretation of Biblical prophecy led him to spend three years in a religious cult (but he’s much better now). It’s a bizarre, hilarious, and strangely relatable tale.
Smith’s delivery is fantastic – he’s quick, dryly comical, and most importantly, authentic. Standing at a microphone for most of the hour, he makes great use of projected graphics (like a fancy PowerPoint show) and film to help us follow the potentially-complicated plot. It’s a bit of a slow burn, and some parts (like his hitchhiking stories) seem to run a bit long. Still, it’s a funny and riveting hour. Can Barry Smith get an “amen?” Yes he can.
I’ll admit I was tempted to remove the part from the CBC review about how parts of my show seem to run a bit long, but I thought I’d leave it intact. Because I’m authentic. What’s so bad about a slow burn, anyway?
And here, for no reason, is a picture of my venue in Winnipeg.
Playhouse Studio, seats 110, air conditioned. Ahhhhh…