Review: Raise the Hammer

As someone who has now seen more Fringe theatre than most people I know and also as a musician who performs, I have a lot of respect for one-man shows, especially with limited or minimal props. The ability to hold an audience for an hour is a true compliment to Phil Rickaby’s skills as both a performer and writer.

As any cursory reading of the marketing material will tell you, The Commandment sets up our main character as an atheist who encounters God while on the toilet. He’s an atheist and yet God has chosen him as the next prophet to unveil to the world the latest commandment from El Capitano Himself.

As one might expect, personal and philosophical reflections by our protagonist abound as he wrestles with the profound realization that he has been wrong for quite some time both regarding the existence of God and also the problem of evil.

Without getting into detail, our character has had his share of personal troubles, which cause him to wonder why he has been chosen. Moreover, he is quite aware that if he starts walking around telling everyone that he speaks to God and that God has provided him with magical knowledge, he will likely be locked up.


Phil Rickaby also portrays God in this production and uses a distinct voice to differentiate between these two characters. In some ways, it was a nice change to hear God speaking in a voice other than Morgan Freeman’s. In this play, he sounded a lot like Stuart Mclean from CBC’s the Vinyl Café. Somehow this was strangely appropriate and wildly amusing to me. Not sure if it was intentional.

Highly recommended for those who want to learn what God’s eleventh and now twelfth commandments are!

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