Review: Grid City Magazine

Thomas, a God hating, atheist, prophet, begins his diatribe at an open mic night. On the face of it , The Commandment sounds like a bad joke, but what a punchline! From the beginning to the end this of play there is a roller coaster feel. What is faith? Do we control our destiny, or is it predetermined? The comedy adds to the edginess of this piece.
~ Grid City Magazine, Aug 22, 2018

0

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.

Dilemmas!

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!

This review appeared at Raisethehammer.org

0

Review: Monkeybiz.ca

“The first time God talked to me, I was on the toilet.”

Thus begins Thomas’s tale of his life as a reluctant prophet, personally selected by God to deliver a new commandment to mankind. As a nobody, a slacker and moreover, an atheist, he rejects his destiny and tries every trick he can to avoid this new responsibility.

Phil Rickaby, the writer, producer and star of the one-man show, interweaves a creative concept with his own life experiences and creates a well-crafted story with surprising emotional impact. The jokes are sharp and the pathos is deep.

We’re left wondering along with Thomas how exactly our trials and tribulations are supposed to fit into the great master plan, and why the details never seem to add up.

Turns out God’s more of an ideas guy.

This review first appeared at Monkeybiz.ca

0

Review: The View Weekly

In The Commandment, playwright/performer Phil Rickaby tackles the serious issue of the suicide of a loved one in a dark stand-up comedy style. An imagined conversation with God is the central incident in this fictionalized piece based on real events. Protagonist atheist Thomas is approached by God (in a public washroom of all places) and asked to become his prophet and to preach his new commandment (which I will not disclose in this review).

Rickaby literally bursts onto the stage and his energy does not flag at any point in the proceedings. Although the story is presented as an impromptu stand-up comedy routine, its solid writing and performing chops cannot be hidden. Rickaby’s timing and body language speak more of good stage craft than standup experience. His comedic turn as God (a bus driver surely inspired by some Jimmy Stewart character) is as engaging as his gusto and heart break in the role of Thomas.

The Commandment was The View’s Critic’s choice of the venue in the 2016 Hamilton Fringe Festival.

0