Revelation (Review)

Not Rapturous but Fun: Untethered Theatre's Revelation

Leah Strasser and Ben Dudley in Untethered Theatre's Revelation
Leah Strasser and Ben Dudley in Untethered Theatre's Revelation

On a cold Friday night, Untethered Theatre opened Samuel Brett Williams’ Revelation to a packed and receptive house in the Clifton Performance Theatre (CPT), a home they share with Clifton Players. It’s an amazement to see how both companies use this tiny space innovatively. 

Revelation is a humorous, 70-minute one-act that explores love in the time of the Rapture, hilarity during the End of Days. It is a thematic mash-up of recent films Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and This is The End. 

In this version, Brandon interrupts neighbor and med student Rebecca and her prof in bed to alert them that just outside people are being Raptured or left to perish. He convinces her to go with him to New Jerusalem, which just happens to be in Arkansas. Bedlam in the style of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse ensues as they make their way through famine, war and more. 

Leah Strasser, Paul Morris and Carol Brammer do nice work with their characters, some written more thinly than others. Ben Dudley is flat-out hilarious as Brandon, a basil/tofu/panini-loving near-virgin. Strasser’s Rebecca seems to be med student only to spout wiki theory and has some dramatic dead ends to overcome, one in about how her parents might or might not have met their end. Morris and Brammer play multiple characters and Morris’ half-tongued torturer was the most fun. 

My favorite monologue was on the serious side and delivered by Brandon’s father (Morris), a religious zealot who’s likely insane and murderous. It felt like a different play, yet that was when I became interested in the playwright’s voice. 

Director Kevin Crowley introduced the playwright before the performance, caught between the heartbreak of just losing his father and good fortune as a writer of plays, TV and film. I suspect Williams’ best play is yet to come, and I predict it will be very good.

Until then, Revelation is good enough fun. Untethered boasts a commitment to bringing “exciting, challenging and often little-seen plays to Cincinnati in an intimate space.” I predict the company is up to the challenge. 

REVELATION, presented by Untethered Theatre at Clifton Performance Theatre, continues through Feb. 8.

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