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Hand to God

Members say: Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Funny, Hilarious
84
Critics
89
41 reviews
Members
84
868 reviews
 

Fresh from a critically-acclaimed run Off-Broadway comes a lightning-paced comedy about a Texas town's Christian Puppet Ministry...and one of its shockingly foul-mouthed sock puppets.

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This comedy is about shy, inquisitive student Jason, who finds an outlet for his burgeoning creativity at the Christian Puppet Ministry in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. That is until his hand puppet Tyrone — once soft-spoken — takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. As Tyrone’s influence over Jason steadily grows, Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.

 

Cast & Creatives (14)



Reviews (909)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
89
Avg Score

95
The New York Times

"In a Broadway season dominated by the usual fodder — Mr. Askins’s black comedy about the divided human soul stands out as a misfit both merry and scary, and very welcome...You can enjoy “Hand to God” merely as a festival of filthy hilarity..but as I watched the play this year, for the third time, I found myself peering more closely into its psychological depths, and finding in it a weird mirror of our unsettling times. " Full Review

95
New York Post

"Staged with unflagging energy by Moritz von Stuelpnagel...A scalpel-sharp show about the ways people cope with their troubles...it’s Boyer’s virtuosic performance that defines “Hand to God,” as he seamlessly toggles between Jason and [sock puppet] Tyrone — and if the actor doesn’t win a Tony for this, there’s no justice in the world. Just watch how the little fellow’s arms shake with rage when he reaches out to strangle someone — it’s simultaneously hilarious and scary, like the play itself." Full Review

95
Variety

"Robert Askins’ furiously funny comedy about adolescent rebellion against religious cant has made a smooth passage to Broadway. Moritz von Stuelpnagel hasn’t touched a hair on the head of his clever production and the original cast is still golden...Askins’ most impressive talent, though is his ability to make us laugh while juggling those big themes that make life so terrifying: death, depression, alcoholism, sexual guilt, emotional repression, religious hypocrisy and the eternal battle betw... Full Review

95
Time Out New York

"Praise be to the angels behind it:" Hand to God " has made it to Broadway. Some have wondered whether Robert Askins’s outrageous dark comedy—about a sweet Christian teen, Jason and his demonic puppet, Tyrone—would work as well in a larger venue as in its two hit Off Broadway runs. The answer is a resounding, full-throated yes. The freshest and funniest Broadway comedy in years, "Hand to God" is to plays as "The Book of Mormon" is to musicals: a welcome breath of foul air." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Broadway’s unlikeliest new must-see play. I say “unlikeliest” in part because it’s the kind of intelligent, blood-dark comedy — disturbing as often as it is funny, vile as often as it is violent, and, to my mind, better for both..."Hand to God" is successfully disguising its larger concerns under the cloak of dirty puppet talk. I found this aspect of the play a bit belabored...But as the dark comedy more nearly approaches its darkness, the tale becomes more emotionally legible, and at times ... Full Review

90
The Guardian (UK)

"A savage, often hilarious, and profoundly irreligious satire...it’s not a lot more irreverent than "The Book of Mormon", but it is a lot dirtier and there are no dance numbers. Askin's script often betrays an adolescent desire to shock and scandalise...Some of the motivations are explained away tidily and a lot of the humour is puerile. But the puerile bits are particularly funny. Askins is smart and engaged enough that even the play’s most outrageous actions seem grounded in character." Full Review

95
DC Theatre Scene

"Robert Askin’s funny, filthy, violent and sensitive play...This is not a play for children. But it is a show for adults, with hints of psychological insights beneath the hysterical exterior...The triumph of "Hand to God" on Broadway is also a victory for Off-Off Broadway, where the show began, and it retains a quirky, raw, uncompromising quality more characteristic of its origins than its destination." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"Director von Stuelpnagel and his terrific cast tackle this darkly funny material with a shrewd balance of heightened reality, warped sitcom and underlying pathos, landing all the jokes while never denying the genuine sorrow and anger driving both Jason and Margery to such erratic behavior. That said, the play delivers a steady stream of laughs, and one truly uproarious sight gag full of details that keep on giving." Full Review

90
The Wall Street Journal

"Nothing is more exciting than a new play that takes you by surprise, and Robert Askins’s “Hand to God,”, does so over and over again...Scratch the surface and you’ll find a dead-serious black comedy in which the disruptive power of lust is dramatized in a manner so outrageous as to recall the ruthlessly funny plays of Joe Orton...“Hand to God” isn’t perfect, but it’s staggeringly funny and promising without limit." Full Review

90
AM New York

"Hand to God" - a dark, irreverent and smart comedy by the young, previously unknown playwright Robert Askins - is one hell of a great success story, having graduated step by step from off Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway to finally Broadway itself. This is the kind of raw and raunchy play you don't typically see on Broadway, but once there ends up making Broadway a more exciting place." Full Review

100
The Huffington Post

"Arguably the best play of the 2014-2015 Broadway season...Because Askins has written the figures so fully, they need to be played as fully. They absolutely are. Boyer's is the indisputably key performance, but the others, expertly directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, whip up all sorts of subtle character mannerisms that add to the production's unerring perfection. "Hand to God"'s assault on religion as irrevocable healer both tickles the ribs and gives them a powerful punch." Full Review

90
Chicago Tribune

"Arresting, funny and thoroughly disconcerting...highly original and laudably fearless and politically incorrect...Askins sets his play, which is directed with real punch by Moritz von Stuelpnagel somewhere in Texas. Crucially, though, the script and the production show great compassion for this group of struggling, lower-middle-class characters...That compassion is what takes "Hand to God" beyond the usual condescension you find on Broadway toward Texans or people of faith in general." Full Review

90
New York Daily News

"The new Broadway comedy “Hand to God” is so ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it’s bound to leave you sore from laughing. Ah, hurts so good. Askins proves deft at writing dialogue that's hysterical and at serving up insights. He’s unapologetically profane — prompting a handful of walkouts at a recent performance. Their loss...It’s not typical Broadway fare, but all involved deserve a big hand." Full Review

100
Deadline

"There are many reasons to celebrate the arrival on Broadway of Robert Askins’ "Hand To God". It wraps its seriousness in a veneer of XXX-rated irreverence. I don’t know which I want to do more: Sing Hallelujah — or wash its dirty little mouth out with soap. It’s probably no one’s idea of a Broadway show...song-free and purposely looking as though it was produced on a Cookie Monster-sale budget, "Hand To God" is a Book Of Revelations about what should be possible on Broadway." Full Review

85
The Associated Press

"Messed-up, angry, needy, dark and in desperate need of mental help...It's like nothing else on Broadway and a brave choice both to open here and to attend...Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs with a flair for allowing the play's little absurdities to reveal themselves naturally and a skill with onstage physicality...Askins at times seems to fumble for a deeper meaning about the individual getting lost in the collective, but while he comes close to profundity, it's really his cast that leaves an ... Full Review

75
Newsday

"Off-Broadway, "Hand to God" was a wicked little church satire...Improbably pumped up for Broadway, the offbeat reverence shrinks in charm and impact. The gory yet sweet-natured spoof feels more like a drawn-out sketch, and the gleeful dirty-talk gets childish when hammered by good actors encouraged to shriek...Late in the short evening, there is that clench of impeccably portrayed puppet sex. If the rest of the night just feels like foreplay, however, that's not play enough for Broadway." Full Review

80
The Wrap

"In act two of this raunchy comedy, Askins and his able director Moritz von Stuelpnagel do introduce two hand puppets that very convincingly masturbate, perform oral sex on each other and then copulate in a series of strikingly human positions. While the story of “Hand to God” proceeds in a most linear fashion, the sex is novel, and the whole shebang ends in a maelstrom of self-inflicted violence that stops the laughter in your throat." Full Review

95
CitiTour

"Robert Askins’ completely outrageous and outrageously funny new play 'Hand to God,' proves two things: that sock puppets can be downright demonic and Broadway is readier than ever to offend just about anyone…For all its copious, jaw-dropping laughs, Askins’ script, which has been handled expertly by director Moritz von Stuelpnagel, is also full of heart…New voices of such wit and wisdom are rare in the theater these days." Full Review

85
WNBC

"Structurally, “Hand to God” never quite adds up to the sum of its brilliant parts. There are only so many ways we can be told that faith isn’t quite enough, and that we need to find specific ways of dealing with our problems. Much of the dialogue seems designed merely to shock, though it builds with such intensity you may be too busy rolling in the aisles to notice." Full Review

85
Stage Buddy

"One could choose to only concentrate on the show’s comedic elements (and it is nothing if not hilarious) but its beauty lies in the moments between puns and witty dialogues; it's in the pauses and moments of silence where we see the characters’ humanity shine through... For a play that appears to be so cynical on the surface, 'Hand to God,' actually makes us want to reach out to the person sitting next to us." Full Review

0
The Observer

"A brainless barrage of trash, heresy, stupidity and nausea called "Hand to God" is the first time, in all my years on the aisle, that I have finally seen an entire stage filled with unmitigated crap. There is no plot, no narrative form, no theme...The hand puppet shrieks, screams, spits, vomits and fornicates profusely while the audience explodes with laughter so loud and raucous that it echoes from the Booth Theatre...With "Hand to God," the audience is a cause for serious concern." Full Review

95
As Her World Turns

"One of the funniest plays I’ve seen in years, and it reaches an unexpected depth that really impresses me...A series of wickedly funny and tragic events transpires. You’ll want to go along for the ride. " Full Review

90
StageZine

"This is that rare show that changes and challenges the foundations of traditional theater… Equal parts dark comedy, absurdist drama and horror/gore show, 'Hand to God' is both funny and frightening...but playwright Robert Askins’ tale is highly original as well. At times scathingly hilarious but ultimately disturbing, this tragicomic masterpiece takes digs at everything from Christianity and teenage angst to taboo sex. It is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on the New York stage in years." Full Review

90
Stu on Broadway

"Playwright Robert Askins has written a truly original play that at its core is an examination of a young man’s descent and, finally ascent, from a personal hell...Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel adroitly brings out the disquietude within the production. He creates a controlled mayhem and methodical rhythm to the play." Full Review

95
Showbiz 411

"The path to the Tony Award season took a curve last night as Richard Askins’ original play, “Hand to God,” was such a hit that it took everyone by surprise...totally original, funny and angry and sad, and sure to leave a mark not only this spring but for some time to come...it’s also a full play, with fully realized ideas about religion and mortality, Big Ideas and small ones. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel's got this extraordinary ensemble on a tight leash and never lets up." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

80
Absorbing, Clever, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting

See it if you enjoy a wild, wacky premise. Boyer soars as the boy possessed by a demon puppet. Chaos reigns. A bit out of control in the 2nd half.

Don't see it if you dislike violence on stage. Highly engaging, but intellectually a bit light. Better at the tiny early venue than on Bway (I saw both).

Also I'm trying to catch up on shows I saw (this one twice) before I joined... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Quirky

See it if A dark comedy. Adult oriented.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Intense

See it if You enjoy very dark humor, irreverence and outrageously funny heretical inquiries to arrive at truth, self-awareness and a sense of divinity

Don't see it if You don't like puppets, are easily offended by religious satire or the foulest and funniest insightful language questioning faith and life.

95
Clever, Edgy, Raunchy, Hilarious, Vulgar

See it if you loved Avenue Q and ever wondered what would happen if a puppet became possessed by the devil.

Don't see it if you are earnestly pious and easily offended.

80
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Long, Messy

See it if You want to see the cool show in town. Come on, demonic puppets on Broadway don't happen often!

Don't see it if You're not a fan of raunchy comedy. Many scenes overstay their welcome.

87
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want a great show, that does have a puppet as part of the main character. I was pleasantly surprised by this show.

Don't see it if you take life to serious..

95
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you want to see an amazing dark comedy.

Don't see it if you so not like the idea of laughing at some uncomfortable topics.

68
Clever

See it if you want to see something new and fresh. I normal don't do this high profile broadway shows but this was a pleasant surprise.

Don't see it if are easily offended. This is more edgy than I was expecting.

90
Ambitious, Intelligent, Hilarious

See it if You want to see theater that is both hilarious and horrifying.

Don't see it if Your pastor won't let you.

80
Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if If you liked Avenue Q. More perverted puppet humor!!!

Don't see it if If you can't handle inappropriate humor and puppet sex.

88
Funny, Clever, Intense, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy dark humor, puppets, political and religious satire, and amazing acting

Don't see it if you are offended by strong sexual references or religious satire, or dark undertones in the subject matter of the play

49
Quirky, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow

See it if you enjoy contemporary theater with a glaze of violence, blood and humour

Don't see it if foolish violence and profanity makes you squirm

90
Original, Must see, Quirky, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if If want to laugh so much your sides hurt.

Don't see it if If you're a prude

95
Original, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you enjoy new takes on theatre. Easily my favorite play of the season, with a quirky balance of humor and drama, great use of puppetry.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with adult language, coming of age stories, or explorations of dark material in a religious setting.

90
Funny, Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you love outrageous and envelope-pushing comedy that can be crass but relevant and heart-churning at the same time. Excellent performances.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy crass or sexual humor. The show is R-rated on all accounts.

92
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if This is a funny play with serious undertones. Great staging and was fully engaged. The lead acyor was awesome and talented

Don't see it if This is really a psychological drama inside a comedy. Really liked it.

65
Great acting, Raunchy, Disappointing, Insipid, Overrated

See it if you only care about seeing a dazzling leading performance, and nothing else.

Don't see it if you want any intelligence or artistry in the writing or production. Jokey and obvious and not truly substantial in any way.

95
Delightful, Great acting, Raunchy, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if thank god for this wild, poorly-behaved, hilarious, ferocious, bloody, amazing play, and for Stephen Boyer's virtuoso double-turn.

Don't see it if you're offended by stage violence

65
Funny, Original, Intense, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like irreverent humor. It was entertaining for the most part, but then it tried to get serious about its satire & that kills it for me.

Don't see it if you are offended by jokes poking fun at religion, specifically American Christianity.

85
Funny, Original, Great acting, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if you like puppetry and don't mind a bit of heresy.

Don't see it if you don't like a lot of profanity.

86
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Twisted, Dark humor

See it if If you love dark humor and hated your Catholic grade school.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy edgy comedy.

100
Funny, Original, Clever, Intelligent

See it if you are open to an insane tour-de-force with puppets and religion.

Don't see it if you aren't looking for something that challenges the status quo.

87
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you don’t mind being challenged / you wonder what Avenue Q would be like as an even darker straight play

Don't see it if you hate puppets or foul language / you are religious and protective of it

68
Edgy, Great acting, Raunchy, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like dark, raunchy humor, as well as the use of puppets on stage.

Don't see it if you don't like explicit content, such as violence/gore, sexual images, or harsh language.

79
Original, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you want to see Steven Boyer deliver an amazing performance in a role made just for him; one of a kind show; clever writing, great acting!

Don't see it if you have a problem with a show that questions religion; sexual innuendo, F bomb, blood and puppets bothers you; dark,wicked turn in Act 2