Much like the first time we see Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, from the get go The Gospel According To Matthew, staged in the downstairs bar of the Butterfly Club establishes quickly that this is going to be a at times uncomfortable, confronting, and very frank look at life and, in the words of the artist, “everything you were taught not to discuss in polite company”. It’s also blood(of-Christ)ly hilarious.
Matthew brings to the stage a somewhat nervous energy, and his opening musical number asks us to lower our expectations because as long as the opening is strong, it’s okay to coast to the finish, but you absolutely shouldn’t; each number is consistently strong, and demonstrates his strong vocal style and a few cheeky digs at musical theatre convention.
I was always taught you should never discuss sex, religion, or politics but all these taboo topics are laid bare before the audience, and given an entertaining and sometimes twisted perspective, delivered with the innocent smile of someone you’d introduce to your mum, and an attitude that suggest, “oops, did I just say that?”.
He also seems to have mastered something I really appreciate in comedy; jokes whose punchline reach the audience at different times. There’s a bit early in the piece that is delivered so subtly it was almost missed, and until everyone was in, was not lampshaded. Rather than waiting for everyone to “get it”, he’s already moved on to his next subject, and when the laugh comes, there’s a few nice, “ha, yeah, that happened” moments.
The Gospel According To Matthew is on tonight and tomorrow, 18 & 19 March, at the Butterfly Club. Tickets are available at the door.