G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) by Dane Baptiste

G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) by Dane Baptiste
Star Rating: ***
Soho Theatre
London W1

Review date: 1st June 2018

With a title like G.O.D. you know you’re in for a serious show and arguably one that’s going to push a few buttons. The sermon according to Dane Baptiste certainly did that as he essentially drew comparisons between the worship of the idols of gold, oil and drugs, along with all that they represent versus the worship of God.

Gold in Danes world was represented by money and the importance of accumulating it. Nothing wrong with that per second as many aspire to earn a living and earn as much as they can. The issue arises where one chases money at the expense of everything else in life. “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Or when one pursues the idols of oil, drugs or other “false idols” over God. Dane didn’t make this clear.

As an increasingly successful Comedian with notable successes being Sunny D, the BBC’s first Black British sitcom for over 20 years and being the first Black Briton nominated for an Edinburgh Fringe award in 2014, he joked that this made him a comedy God. Whilst I wouldn’t go that far and he wasn’t, he certainly  offered up a bountiful supply of original jokes, observations and witty asides e.g. when reacting to the name of a man called Merlin sat in the front row and when gently welcoming two latecomers to the show in a refreshingly pleasant and non judgemental way by humbly saying, “We all have things to do.”

References to oil included a classy line questioning what oil and water and God and water both have in common! Sharp jokes and observations like this peppered his show and kept the audience heartily laughing away.

Dane was raised a Catholic but somewhere along the way he seems to have lost his faith in both God and the Catholic church for reasons he doesn’t explain. It would have been more helpful and made for a more relatable performance if he had done so as there would have been more context to his views, especially when on one particular occasion it was blatantly and surprisingly blasphemous.

There was a far higher level of crudity and profanity in the show too which you don’t normally expect from Dane Baptiste so something’s changed which is a shame. For instance his remarks about the Queen and Prince Phillip shocked many in the audience and were, to my mind, unnecessarily disrespectful. That said, is that because we view them as idols on a pedestal who we should respect or because we feel they deserve respect because of factors such as what they’ve achieved, their advanced age and the fact society tell us to respect one’s elders?

This was a solidly, funny and at times thought provoking offering, but the finale left a very bad taste in the mouth and regrettably was the abiding memory of the night. Maybe that’s the message Dane wanted to put out and he has the freedom to do that. However if he was aiming to make clear that society shouldn’t be worshiping false idols, only the one God, he had a funny way of showing it. He would perhaps been better off using his talents to distinguish between what to some might seem unhealthy allegiances to any one particular religious denomination and what could be a healthier, more respectful faith in God, a relationship with God, that is more personal and rooted in scripture rather than some of the man made religious tenets and practices that have been open to criticism.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Shallow Halal – Faith, Family and Relationships – Sajeela Kershi – 30th January 2016
  2. Have We Sacrificed Religion for Materialism? – Battle of Ideas 2012 – 4th November 2012
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