The Roustabouts Theatre Co. Brings the Stirring and Thought-Provoking

 Hand to God to the Diversionary Theatre Stage

Adam Daniel, Dave Rivas, Rebecca Crigler, Samantha Ginn & Devin Wade - photo by Daren Scott

"Hand to God," written by Robert Askins and skillfully produced by The Roustabouts Theatre Co. under the direction of Artistic Director Phil Johnson, is a darkly comedic exploration of inner turmoil and the battle between good and evil within us. 
The plot set in a small Texan town, revolves around Margery (Rebecca Crigler) who is recently widowed, and her son Jason, portrayed by Adam Daniel. Margery's pastor (Dave Rivas) assigns Margery to run the puppet club at the church as a distraction and to put on a show for the following Sunday. Jessica (Samatha Ginn) one of the neighbors, joins the club along with the town troublemaker Tommy (Devin Wade). Jason starts to grapple with his inner demons manifested in the form of his irreverent, foul-mouthed, and provocative hand puppet, Tyrone who takes over and brings out everything in everybody.

The cast delivered catching performances with great chemistry on stage, creating a cohesive ensemble that effectively captured the essence of the play. Adam Daniel displayed good puppetry skills that not only differentiated Jason from Tyrone but also added complexity to the characters, highlighting the internal conflict at the narrative's core. I had already seen "Hand to God" when SD Rep did it some years back but this time, I appreciated Margery's role more through Rebecca Crigler's portrayal which also delivered a truthful monologue regarding women. Devin Wade as the town baddie, is the typical class bully that needs obvious attention due to all the hurt happening inside. Samantha Ginn's portrayal of Jessica along with her puppet Jolene, is a standout, delivering a hilarious and also compelling performance that keeps the dynamics of the production in an upbeat rhythm. Dave Rivas is sweet as Pastor Greg, yet...appearances can be deceiving.

Adam Daniel. Photo by Daren Scott

Yi-Chien Lee's meticulous set design included a half that folded to reveal another room along with Annelise Salazar's atmospheric lighting, Justin Magallanes's detailed prop work, and Paul Durso's immersive soundscapes, created a rich and engaging theatrical environment that complimented the narrative and immersed the audience.

Pam Stompoly-Ericson's fun costumes added to the mix, truly bringing out each character's personality. I cannot conceive in this day a type of show like this, with sensitive topics and sexual scenes without the work of an Intimacy Coordinator. Bravo to D. Candis Paule, who also plays a crucial role in this production.

"Hand to God" is a stirring and thought-provoking exploration of faith, grief, and the complexities of the human psyche, greatly brought to life by a talented cast and dedicated creative team. With Phil Johnson's direction at the helm, this production offers a compelling blend of humor and drama, captivating audiences with its raw authenticity and emotional depth. 

Currently playing at Diversionary Theatre until March 31. For performance times and days please click here. 

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