Armageddon arrives amid unrepentant lunacy in “Revelation” at the Lillian Theatre. Samuel Brett Williams’ pitch-black apocalyptic comedy isn’t quite cohesive structurally, but it's a breakneck, often uproarious trek through hell on Earth.
We open on a post-coital couple under the covers of the bed on designer Jeffrey Eisenmann’s fragmented set. Enter a frenzied young man: “Jesus is HERE!” This herald of the end times is Brandon (Marco Naggar, atop his game), neighbor and one-time squeeze of the room’s tenant, medical resident Rebecca (a funny, febrile Zibby Allen).
Lapsed fundamentalist Brandon, who uses initials for X-rated words, warns Rebecca and Dan (Micah Cohen) to escape New York. They demur until they look outside, and Peter Bayne’s soundtrack leaps into hilariously cataclysmic focus.
So, to the streets, where Dan caterwauls offstage, subsumed by unseen hellfire. After the seeming cop (Carolina Espiro) who ends his shrieking misery robs them, Brandon and Rebecca flee to Arkansas. Seems Brandon’s evangelist father (Tony Gatto, aptly Falwell-esque) prophesied that New Jerusalem would materialize there. Further description risks cranial meltdown.
Director Lindsay Allbaugh has a field day, launching a fearless cast (with alternates) around the venue with unabashed wit. Her resourceful designers, who include Corwin Evans (projections), Michael Mullen (costumes) and Matt Richter (lighting), support the Christopher Durang-meets-Terry Gilliam ambience. Naggar and Allen display a sour-sweet chemistry easily worth the admission.
Larvell Hood’s pervy Hudson ferryman, Patrick Pankhurst and Chloe Peterson’s literally scabrous survivors and Cohen and Etienne Eckert’s gonzo cultists are other standouts. Williams’ promising script needs a rethink.
The sketch-show contours permit tonal imbalance between twisted and sober, many zingers more sitcom than savage. Agnostics and/or “Robot Chicken” devotees shouldn’t let that deter them.
“Revelation,” Elephant Stages’ Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Aug. 25. $25,$35. (855) 655-6743 or www.elephanttheatre.org. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun