God is scheduled to visit Vancouver this month in the form of a potty-mouthed Scottish drag queen.
The deity’s presence has been made possible by the Neanderthal Arts Festival that runs at The Cultch, July 18 to 29.
Acclaimed comedian Michael Delamont created the character with award-winning playwright Jacob Richmond (Ride the Cyclone, Legoland) for an Atomic Vaudeville cabaret in Victoria in 2006.
They initially envisioned God as an Englishman in a dress.
“Originally, we thought it’d be funny with an English accent, and it wasn’t,” Delamont said. “We joke that God had a drinking problem back in the Old Testament so there’s this aggression that’s there. With the [English] accent it was just mean.”
Delamont subsequently donned glasses, a black bob wig and a Scottish accent and found he could say “whatever mean things I wanted and it was charming.”
When audiences wanted more he continued to write for what was meant to be a one-off character.
Delamont’s 75-minute comedy act God is a Scottish Drag Queen premiered at the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival in 2011, where it played to sold-out audiences every night, won Best Solo Show and was nominated for a 2012 Canadian Comedy Award.
The Times Colonist described it as “a cross between Dame Edna and Billy Connelly with a dollop of Eddie Izzard.” The Neanderthal Festival show will be the Vancouver premiere for the unmerciful God who skewers everything from Justin Bieber to skydiving to the Mayans.
The 28-year-old Cranbrook native, who recently lived in Toronto and is based in Victoria, won Best Comedy Performer last year in Monday Magazine’s people’s choice M Awards, and he was also nominated for a Critics Choice Award for his performance as farm hand Jud Fry in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at the Chemainus Theatre Festival.
The Neanderthal Arts Festival includes readings of new works and features new and experimental work by emerging and established local and Canadian artists. Entering its 10th year as festival producers, Upintheair Theatre presents programming that is eclectic, drawn to comedy and topically relevant.
Comedian Riel Hahn will host a talkback series and barbecue chat during the first week of the festival. The Tomorrow Collective has paired eight seemingly mismatched artists to create four 15-minute performances for an edition of Brief Encounters, BoucheWHACKED! Theatre Collective will perform a 2008 Governor General Award-winning play called The List about a wife and mother who rebels against her daily list of chores only to find that she neglected to take care of the one task that may have led to her neighbour’s death in a kitchen at the Cultch, and The Sunday Service improvisers will absorb every show in the festival and recap the highlights in just one hour, among other performances.
The Neanderthal Arts Festival is meant to fill a hole in summer programming in Vancouver. Organizers note big-name events with big-ticket prices, which include Bard on the Beach, Cirque du Soleil and the folk fest, typically dominate mid-summer. They want to provide an affordable alternative with tickets that cost $14 per show, less with a three- or eight-show festival pass.
For more information, see www.thal.ca or www.thecultch.com. firstname.lastname@example.org