Testament ★★★★ Via Brooklyn Theatre Co. (online) | Mar 27 - Apr 24, 2021


Testament by Tristan Bernays is a treatment of three Bible stories relocating them to modern-day America. There is, perhaps, a somewhat evangelical feel to the production which comprises two monologues separated by a duologue, but one does not need to be a Christian to appreciate the quality of the writing and acting. We hear the stories of Isaac, Lot, and one of the criminals crucified with Jesus. Bernays' eloquent use of language creates striking images and the theme of shared humanity is well depicted, allowing the stories to meld seamlessly into their new settings. Lot's daughters are extremely well characterised by Cori Hundt and Jessica Giannone. Biko Eisen-Martin as the criminal who is confronted by Jesus and rejects salvation in the afterlife may have the hardest task but he masters it. The most instantly appealing performance comes from Doron JéPaul Mitchell as Isaac, the son of Abraham; his heartfelt and softly spoken monologue poignantly hits the mark. Music and religion are irrevocably intertwined and singer Desireé Rodriguez performs Bernays' own songs with tremendous passion; their styles range from a funereal dirge to a Loretta Lynn type ballad. These adaptations are redolent of today's American society and, sadly, the graphically described violence does not jar. Lucy Jane Atkinson's intelligent production allows the words to speak for themselves. A line spoken by one of Lot's daughters seems to encapsulate at least a part of the play's message: “if you want a rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain”.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.

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