Finally, something to do on a Sunday night "Taking the Jesus Pill"

Charlie Terrell and the band

Finally, something to do on a Sunday night!  Southern Alabama comes to Hollywood in Charlie Terrell's Taking the Jesus Pill, directed by Mars Callahan. The red-lit brick walls of the King King Club set the stage for this multi-media experience, which is more of an interactive cabaret than your standard stage play. Superb lead performances by Nathan Legrand as the Preacher and Nikki McCauley as his daughter Tina recreate the Bible belt horrors of loneliness, incest, fire and brimstone and eternal damnation so often preached in mainstream media. This is a land where people don't think twice if a man's last name is a bible verse, where the sleaze mingles with the sacred, and where it's acceptable for a woman's face to closely resemble that of a ceramic lamb.

The preacher asking for forgiveness

The storyline here is far from original, and the characters themselves are to be expected (right down to the seedy town judge and his crooked deputy henchmen). The show seemed to run a bit shorter than a standard play, which may have been why the transformations of the Preacher and Tina seemed a little abrupt between acts. This show, however, is definitely helped and set apart by the backdrop of the live band (fronted by Terrell himself) and video projections that serve their purpose well by transporting the audience out into external settings as well as by giving us a deeper look into the characters' subconscious.  If this were staged any differently (meaning, on a standard stage in a standard theatre) it would probably not have survived a weekend. 

But the reason that Jesus Pill has been around since February is simply that it gives the audience more of hit to their senses.There's more to see with the projections and with the actors taking over the entire bar as their stage. And that does include the actual bar. There's more to hear, with the bluesy southern-edged sounds of the band creating a nicely timed live soundtrack. There's wine to sip, cigar smoke to tickle your nostrils, and if you're sitting close, you might even be lucky enough to get handed one of the reverend's shiny stars or pelted in the head with a tambourine (as my poor friend experienced at one particular performance). 

It's almost circus-like at moments, sitting on the edge of the parade of swing dancers, tattooed cross bearers, and angelic preacher groupies that look like go-go girls recently departed from an Austin Powers flick. And then there's Terrell, commanding it all as ring-master, ever present in the shadows of a black top hat. Overall, recommended and a great way to end a weekend.

And psst… best seat in the house?  Stage right, anywhere that doesn't explicitly state "don't sit here," and preferably at the bar. But be prepared to move your fingers and your drink so they don't get stepped on or kicked over when the action really gets in your face. Literally.

Chatting at the bar

For further information on shows and play times you can contact the King King Club box office at 323.960.5765 or to visit there website click here.



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