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Baltimore Sun Review

This 'Story' celebrates the gaiety in a garden
Creationism: 'The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told' enjoys life in the beginning - from a gay point of view.

Theater: J. Wynn Rousuck
Originally published May 31, 2001

You wouldn't expect the author of "I Hate Hamlet" to be a reverent guy, so it's no surprise that playwright Paul Rudnick is equally flip about religion in his creation comedy, "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told."

Basically, Rudnick has taken the assertion made by anti-gay religious fundamentalists that "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," and run with it. The result is a bit long and episodic, but it's filled with comic nuggets ("Angels are nothing but Prozac for poor people"), and it's being performed with all due comic seriousness of purpose at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre, under Terry J. Long's sure-handed direction.

One of my favorite bits owes a debt to Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." Rudnick's play is presided over by the character of a Stage Manager, in this case a woman (the efficient Vicki Margolis) who sits in a tall chair in one corner of the theater issuing such cues as: "Creation of the world, go."

Although it takes Adam (an endearing Oscar Ceville) several millennia (and nearly three hours of stage time) to figure this out, the Stage Manager is one possible answer to the play's overriding question: Does God Exist?

In the meantime, Adam meets his ideal mate, Steve (a matter-of-fact David C. Allen) in the Garden of Eden, and after Adam's curiosity gets them expelled, they join forces with Jane (tough-as-nails Laura K. Cosner) and Mabel (gentle Katherine Jaeger), a lesbian couple convinced they were the first human beings.

The first act follows this foursome from the Flood - where they engage in some pretty wild goings-on aboard the Ark - to the birth of Christianity. The second act takes place in Adam and Steve's modern-day Manhattan apartment on Christmas Eve, where Adam still is questioning the existence of God and one member of the seemingly immortal foursome is facing the possibility of death. This act also includes a disabled lesbian televangelist rabbi, played to the outlandish hilt by Michelle Pinkham.

If the humor weren't so sharp and the characters so empathetically drawn, the play might be little more than a drawn-out "Saturday Night Live" sketch. But Rudnick - whose credits also include "Jeffrey" and the screenplay for "In & Out" - has solid comic chops, and though some streamlining might have made "The Most Fabulous Story" a little more fabulous, it's still darned funny.

Show times at the Spotlighters, 817 St. Paul St., are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through June 30. Tickets cost $12. (Show contains nudity and adult situations.) Call 410-752-1225.