An immaculately conceived play
Immaculate is a comedy play which explores the “virgin birth” story as if it happened in the modern day.
The mystery of Mia’s sixth month baby is explored in a comedic yet not completely unserious fashion as the angel Gabriel, Lucifer and another squabble about whose the child is.
This play is a rare example of an an all-round, equally strong cast, made all the more impressive by the fact it was the opening night. No one was boring, nothing felt forced at any point.
The protagonist, Mia (Jemma Fendley), was especially brilliant at narrating and interacting with the audience while Gabriel (Ben Martineau) and Lucifer (Louis Elton) were the comedic heart of the performance. Dealing with a lot of religious source material there is always a fine line between offensive and funny which this performance bridged well, never going too far but often pushing it. With sex being a major theme it similarly kept the comedy crude but never seedy.
While characters would talk, to each other or the audience, the physical comedy of the others- especially Lucifer and Gabriel as they fiddled curiously with the bondage gear on set- often had the audience in stitches. Similarly amusing was the fact that no one even noticed the set being filled with this gear until the protagonist revealed her profession as a “mistress”.
If I was being very particular, the lead character’s American accent while using a lot of distinctly English ways of talking sometimes were not altogether convincing but the audience soon settled into this. Perhaps some of the words could have been changed to make it sound more natural but, again, this is a very small detail in a strong play. The fourth wall breaking sometimes felt awkward but was done often enough that it came to be expected and always received laughs.
There was some corpsing at the end as one character struggled to hold in laughter which might have been a potential flop but the audience responded to it with humour so no harm was done. That same character, Michael’s improvised (Comrie Saville-Ferguson) dancing in one scene also caused heavy laughing in the audience.
Immaculate is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time- an all-round very strong cast.