Mia (Laura Dean) is pregnant, and she has no idea how or why. Ever since she broke up with Michael (Colin James), she hasn’t had sex, yet here she is, heavily pregnant. When the angel Gabriel (Jamie Alan Osborne) arrives to her home, and tells her that she is carrying God’s child, followed by Lucifer (Sebastian Gray), who claims to be the real father, Mia finds herself in a difficult position where she has to make a decision on whether or not she’s ready to be the mother of the Messiah.
There is something incredibly charming and yet thought-provoking about Immaculate, which is the debut production of the Mull It Over Theatre Company. It takes the well-known story of the Virgin Mary, and places it into a modern context. Oliver Lansley’s text is therefore not just clever and funny, but also has a very strong feminist voice and addresses issues that many women can identify with.
Not only is the script cleverly written, but it is also very well executed. The production’s strength is the absolute removal of the fourth wall; each character has something to say about the matter and does not hesitate to share with the audience. As the play develops, this technique gets more and more exaggerated and funny, and it works incredibly well. It is a form that needs some time to get used to, which is why I felt that the second act was much smoother. The clever use of the masked chorus also adds to this effect, often turning the production highly meta, especially when they are interrupted by Mia who stops their description of her killing herself and her child. Although this moment is rewarded with a storm of laughter, it is also an incredibly original way of empowering the female protagonist who refuses to follow the path that she was given. Dean brings much strength to this character, making Mia not only interesting, but relatable.
Directed by Gray, the ensemble is overall strong and in great harmony with each other, although at some moments they got dangerously close to overacting. Less is more, especially in this case where the script is not only funny but intelligent. Although every actor did a great job at embodying the characters, Gray’s Lucifer was a standout for me. His presence really elevated the performance and he never had an empty moment; his facial reactions helped to land the jokes and he even managed to make us symphathise with the devil himself. Also, David Shute was fully committed as Gary Goodman with a very effective sense of comic timing.
The friendly atmosphere of the Tea House Theatre was the perfect platform for this company’s debut. Their representation of the modern woman is refreshing, and while Immaculate is truly funny, it also manages to trigger thought.
Immaculate is playing at Tea House Theatre until 11 October. For more information and tickets, see the Tea House Theatre website.