With the phenomenal popularity of spiritual bestsellers like Mitch Albom’s Have A Little Faith, and Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the faith-based upbeat original stage play by Tai French, Jesus on the Way, is just the ticket this holiday season.
All too often, people face adversity, tragedy, and familial dysfunction, themes so vividly portrayed by this show’s ensemble, each character longing for connection and community. Jahmel A. Holden (actor, filmmaker, and spoken word artist) plays Reverend Alton James, whose drive-by church seems to be the answer — a “one stop shop” for prayer, healing, and religiosity, complete with one-time use “Free Repent coupons!” Donna (played by incredibly talented actress Anika C. McFall) finds herself alone amidst a bare tree, and bereft of romantic love, good health, and considered a “heathen” by her family she so desperately aims to please. There’s nothing like home for the holidays, “no matter how far away you roam.” This age-old theme rings true in this jazzed-up, fresh, laugh out loud production.
The audience will glean new messages on traditional scriptures and proverbs, and the holidays will surely never be the same again. The Jesus on the Way drive-thru church seems the perfect remedy for the “fast-fix,” instant gratification, “speed-date,” internet/cyber-space society in which we live. States Reverend Alton, “Go! On your way to work, on your way to school, on the way home, anytime of day!”
Likewise, run, don’t walk, to see and experience this unique, soul-searching journey that Donna and family undertake, to face whatever reality life dishes up. You’ll get your dose of biblical teachings and preachings, with a sprinkling of humor, subtly mixed with melodrama. Food, family, fighting, friction — all the usual family dysfunction ingredients are in the mix — but once you add “faith” the whole story changes, and each character blossoms to his/her fullest potential.
What the world needs now is “faith sweet faith.”
Jesus on the Way runs through Dec. 18 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. at The Big Victory Theatre located at 3326 Victory Blvd. in Burbank. For ticket information, visit www.vintagecityent.com or call (424) 260-3010.