Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival has a sure fire festival hit on its hands with Bigger Than Jesus appearing at Montreal's Centaur Theatre until July 24, 05. Bigger Than Jesus is a journey of light. The performance starts and ends with light. Bigger Than Jesus is a blend of live performance, sound effects and projections combined with the relentless energy of Rick Miller creating a joyous, funny, fulfilling and mindboggling evening at the theatre.
When he was playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar Rick Miller discovered that he already knew a lot of the words. Being raised Catholic he had learned them by rote as most Catholic children do. Bigger Than Jesus is an attempt to come to terms with his own background and understand why Jesus is still everywhere. The show is an examination of the why - the historical process that leads to people in the modern world worshiping a rabbi born two thousand years ago.
Bigger than Jesus is described in promotional material as a multimedia mass but the shows sole performer Rick Miller more aptly describes it as: "Taking the Jesus story and exploding it." The explosion is as much fun as it is irreverent but if you are watching you see reverence not only for the story of Jesus but for human spirituality. The launching point for the show is the Catholic liturgy which is also the thread that runs through the entire show. Miller tells us the story of Christ. With cutting humor, parody and skepticism Miller carves up the history of Christianity into bite sized morsels then reassembles it and serves it up as a revivalist filled with zeal and a little Rastafarianism (I and I - the oneness of God and everyone on earth).
Miller's voice talents get a workout as a revivalist preacher, Jesus the flight attendant and later while playing the part of all the apostles during the most unique Last Supper any audience has ever seen. The good natured humor that is intrinsic to Miller's performance is a tool which motivates the audience to consider their own beliefs as much as to get them to laugh. Some of the best laughs of the evening are reserved for the celebration of the Eucharist and a very short but moving passion play at the end of the performance.
The Just For Laughs Festival has brought a complex, moving and genuinely funny performance to the Montreal stage. Bigger Than Jesus is a must see for anyone attending this festival.