Hand to God OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • EW

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
February 19, 2014
Closing:
March 30, 2014

Theater: Lucille Lortel Theatre / 121 Christopher Street, New York, NY, 10014

Synopsis: 

The good children of Cypress, Texas are taught to obey the Bible in order to evade Satan’s hand. But when students at the Christian Puppet Ministry put those teachings into practice, one devout young man’s puppet takes on a shocking personality that no one could have expected. In this hilarious and lightning-paced comedy, a foul-mouthed sock puppet named Tyrone soon teaches those around him that the urges that can drive a person to give in to their darkest desires fit like a glove.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hand to God

    An Alter Ego With Attitude,In ‘Hand to God,’ Steven Boyer’s Puppet Is Unfiltered

    Charles Isherwood

    March 10, 2014: All of us play unhappy host to a demon or two roosting in our brains, urging us on to bad behavior now and then: a cutting remark, a catty tweet. But after watching the terrific, scary-funny play Hand to God, by Robert Askins, I am very glad I don’t own a hand puppet. Possibly, this needs some explaining. Mr. Askins’s dark comedy, which opened on Monday night at the Lucille Lortel Theater, features a brilliant performance by Steven Boyer in the central role of a troubled but good-hearted teenager, Jason, who’s forced to participate in a church puppet pageant. On his left arm resides a fellow he’s named Tyrone, made of gray knit material trimmed in bright red fur, with big, black eyes.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Hand to God

    Hand to God (2014)

    Jason Clark

    March 10, 2014: If Avenue Q didn't appropriately sate your appetite for explicit puppet carnality, then Robert Askins' outrageous black comedy Hand to God will more than fit the bill. Two words: puppet motorboating (which has to be a theater first). But this marvelously unsettling play has more to offer than just raunch. If you read between the play's wonderfully frazzled lines, it becomes rather intense study of demonic influence and addiction. (The show, which premiered at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 2011-12 with much of the same cast, runs through March 30 at Off Broadway's MCC Theater.)

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Hand to God

    ‘Hand to God,’ theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    March 10, 2014: In Robert Askins’ Hand to God, an awkward adolescent’s hand puppet is possessed by Satan. Bad for the boy and all within reach, but it’s great for audiences of this devilishly funny comedy. In a Texas church basement, frustrated widow Margery (Geneva Carr) distracts herself by teaching puppetry to teens. The students are her son, Jason (Steven Boyer), who’s meek and shy; Timmy (Michael Oberholtzer), who’s surly and horny; and Jessica (Sarah Miles), who’s sweet and fearless. Jason shivers at Tim’s abuse, while Jess just rebuffs the bully, spitting: “You’re so far back in the closet, you’re in Narnia.” It’s no wonder why Jason digs Jessica. But the scaredy-cat can’t make a move. Then his foul-mouthed hand puppet, Tyrone, takes on a life of his own, demanding that Jason man up. And his power over the kid grows by the minute.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Hand to God

    Hand to God

    Zachary Stewart

    March 10, 2014: Every parent suspects, at one point or another, that their teenager is possessed by the devil. What if that were actually true? Robert Askins weaves a tale of just such a possession (albeit in the form of an ill-mannered sock puppet) in his play Hand to God, now receiving a new production by MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre after a run at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 2011. This play is not for the faint of heart. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with an aversion to blood, profanity, or puppets. Everyone else is guaranteed to have one crazy night of hilarious and unforgettable theater.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Hand to God

    Hand to God: Theater review by Adam Feldman

    Adam Feldman

    March 10, 2014: Idle hands may be the devil’s playground, as the adage goes, but the demonic puppet on the left mitt of Jason (Boyer) is a frenzy of destructive activity. Unlike the shy, sensitive Christian teen who ostensibly controls him, Tyrone is foulmouthed, raunchy and hyperaggressive—and increasingly hard to keep in check. After an especially violent incident, Jason’s pastor (Marc Kudisch, unctuously solicitous) and his car crash of a mother, Margery (a complexly sympathetic Carr), think an exorcism may be in order. “Are you the devil?” Jason asks Tyrone. The puppet retorts: “Are you?” That exchange cuts to the core of Robert Askins’s hilarious, wildly irreverent dark comedy. Is Jason possessed or finally free?

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