The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

A comic, gay take on the Bible, the meaning of life and other deep questions


Through July 14

Tickets are $15-25


New Conservatory Theater, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F.

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A cautionary note: Playwright Paul Rudnick named this work after biblical lore; the title isn't meant to describe the play itself, although Fabulous is a very funny piece, staged simply by director George Maguire with a likable cast. Rudnick (Addams Family, Jeffrey) approaches universal questions -- the meaning of life and death, the essence of love and faith -- from a distinctly queer theatrical sensibility. In the first-act spoof of the Old Testament, God is a stage manager who cues Creation with a headset mike. Protagonists Adam and Steve -- a tart rebuttal to the fundamentalist complaint that God created no such relationship -- find paradise in one another's arms, but Adam's curiosity forces them out of the Garden of Eden (which they grudgingly share with first lesbians Jane and Mabel) to the ark and exodus. (The second act unfolds at a present-day Christmas party in Steve and Adam's Manhattan loft.) What Fabulous lacks in dramatic weight it makes up for in wit and a judicious sampling of pop culture. Joey Fisher's Adam is a tender idealist to Zach Hummel's pragmatic Steve, Maria Biber-Ferro's Lilith sprite Mabel, and Jana Barber's wonderfully blunt Jane. Patrick Michael Dukeman summons Paul Lynde as an over-the-top Pharaoh and later an inebriated party guest who declares, "I'm an overbred WASP from Connecticut -- I always thought of God as a relative." Rudnick jabs steadily at religion, although his suggestion of love as an antidote doesn't read as revelatory. "Stop looking for answers, for reasons, for peace," Steve finally tells Adam as a kind of cold comfort. "Take a real risk -- ask nothing, know nothing." If that statement feels like Rudnick squirming out of resolution, it also makes the point that maybe there's no resolution to be had.

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