Great Religions of America
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Frank Wortham, winner of the 1999 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle award for solo performance and original script for House of Lucky, is back with another outstanding solo performance. Now playing at The Marsh Theatre, Wortham’s Great Religions of America is a different kind of revival that doesn’t take place in a church but in the waiting room of a mediation firm. According to Wortham, who wrote and plays four different roles in this production: “The play is about sex, fashion, drugs, guns, virgins, Satan, war, more drugs, rock stars, the law and cold hard cash. It is 75-minutes of evil comedy that will have no intermission and no apologies.”

No apologies needed. This 27-year-old actor/playwright writes dialogue that at times is pure poetry, his comedy is fresh, his insights beyond his years and he is all American.

The hero of the play is Max Orwell, a timid young receptionist at the mediation firm. He’s in his mid 20s and still a virgin. His boss, judge Huey Cotton is a Vietnam veteran who has some very interesting things to say on the subject of war. Two of their high paying clients are rock star Billy Razor and his girlfriend and fellow musician Lillybelle Adeline. Razor’s ego is so great that at one point we actually watch him devour the world in a way that would make novelist Thomas Wolfe proud.

True, all four of these characters have many stereotyped elements, but this adds to the comedy and makes it easier for the audience to distinguish between characters in this high-energy solo performance.

The Marsh Theatre is at 1062 Valencia Street (near 22nd) in San Francisco. For tickets and information call (415) 826-5750.

Current / Touring / Archives / Links / Film / Video / Links / Home