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Mass – The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

Writer: Amy Mason

Director: Kirsty Housley

Reviewer: Christy Ku

An autobiographical one-woman show, Amy Mason guides the audience through her own version of a Roman Catholic Mass. She uses this to talk about her Catholic upbringing, her own experiences with religion and how she lost her faith.

Standing in front of a makeshift pulpit, Mason takes us through the stages of the service – but with her own touch. She substitutes “Amen” with “Hooray” and creates “guidelines” instead of the Ten Commandments. She gets the audience to stand up and sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” lyrics as she re-enters the stage with two assistants from the crowd, wearing a funny fruit hat and carrying lots of cider. The show is full of music; from soul music as she reads prayers to whale music as she encourages the audience to think about what they’re grateful for.

The show is accessible to those who have not experienced Catholic Mass – she explains the process as the show goes on. Informing us of how Mass worked originally, she proceeds to hand the audience cider and lemonade, encouraging them to drink throughout the show.

Mass is bizarre and very funny. Mason has a matter-of-fact attitude and delivers the show with deadpan and dry humour. She addresses important and potentially controversial issues but without taking herself too seriously. She tells her story wonderfully, with simple but beautiful lines.

Mason creates a warm community through Mass. As the crowd eats, drinks and talks to each other, the divide between creator and audience, and the barriers among audience members and strangers break down. There is a lot of audience participation; she chooses a Moses from the audience as well as making a collection for charity, trusting a member of the audience to donate it.

Mason has created a unique and original critique of religion, religious ritual and worship. While funny, Mass handles the subject matter respectfully without isolating those who do believe. As the audience leaves the show with party hats, flags and cider, there is a sense of thoughtfulness and community.

Runs until 17 October 2015 | Image: Jack Offord

Writer: Amy Mason Director: Kirsty Housley Reviewer: Christy Ku An autobiographical one-woman show, Amy Mason guides the audience through her own version of a Roman Catholic Mass. She uses this to talk about her Catholic upbringing, her own experiences with religion and how she lost her faith. Standing in front of a makeshift pulpit, Mason takes us through the stages of the service – but with her own touch. She substitutes “Amen” with “Hooray” and creates “guidelines” instead of the Ten Commandments. She gets the audience to stand up and sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” lyrics as she re-enters the stage…

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