With a play titled Holy Sh!t to open up the new season at the Kiln Theatre, we are not disappointed. Actor and writer Alexis Zegerman’s new play is about the lengths that some parents will go to get their kids into the best local schools. It begins as a fun sort of competition between middle-class working parents Sam Green (a designer) and Simone Kellerman (a journalist), and their friends Nick (a teacher) and Juliet Obasi (marketing). The two women have been best friends since their university days, but their relationship comes to blows when they both try to get their four-year-old daughters into a Church of England school. There are funny one-liners throughout in relation to religious hypocrisy as, despite their Jewish heritage, Sam and Simone attend church in order to convince their local Vicar that they are true Protestants.
The play is an exploration of what it is to have a faith while also touching on prejudice. It pushes the boundaries of diversity as well as examining different opinions as to what that means. We see relationship dynamics wherein both couples are failing to communicate or listen to one another, along with disagreements as to who is the better parent. Each character is flawed with annoying characteristics, and as a result, there wasn’t anyone in particular that I was rooting for. The stakes get higher and higher as the production endures, and includes some deeply emotional scenes.
The design is sleek with a modern feel. Sam and Simone battle it out, and you will laugh out loud. However, some jokes tend to go over your head as it is fast paced and at times hard to keep up with. The cast is superb in navigating the text and bring out the true colours of their characters. In addition, there are plenty of awkward moments around the notion of race. Zergerman’s great writing and comedic timing might hit a nerve with some audience members, but unfortunately, some lines are lost in the midst of ongoing arguments.
Cultural differences and racial prejudice come to light and turn things on its head. You are left working out what it is that determines the success of a child – religion, race, or class. Holy Sh!t is relevant and perfectly sums up what is happening within the subtleties of everyday racism. It is in your face. Bold and entertaining. There is darkness mixed with moments of poignancy, and by the end the play isn’t what you first assumed it would be.
Holy Sh!t is playing at Kiln Theatre until 6 Oct 18. For more information and tickets, see here.