Lazy Susan's Comedy Den, Brisbane Hotel
Review Craig McKeough
Some quiet reflection at church might seem like a nice way to escape the frenetic pace of Fringe World on a Sunday evening.
But this is Pirate Church and it's not your ordinary place of worship. For one thing, it's in a pub and they hand out shots of rum instead of bread and wine. And there's Werzel, and there's no place for quiet anything when he gets involved.
Pirate Church is presented by Werzel Montague, a big man with a big voice and a fixture on the local comedy scene, and his partner in faith Chris Bedding who, when he's not trying his hand at comedy, is an Anglican priest at a local parish.
Together they take a gently irreverent look at religion in the great comic tradition of Dave Allen, Father Ted and the Vicar of Dibley as they take adopt a variety of stereotypical guises to demonstrate some of the absurdities of organised religion. There's a game show God News Week, the self-righteous ladies auxiliary members, Werzel's fire and brimstone preaching but jaded priest and his TV-style evangelist who demonstrates on a co-operative congregation member how to let go of the fear that is hampering her life.
The highlight of the service was Bedding's Pastor Jayden, a hilarious take on the youth group leader who wants to be all hip and down with the young folk.
There's a healthy dose of aaarrgh and shiver me timbers as the show remembers it's supposed to be all about Pirate Church and the true believers (that's us) get to join in with a few hearty "garrr-mens" and some shanties to round off a lovely evening's worship.
Pirate Church is a little disjointed and unpolished but it's a charming diversion and there's plenty of laughs to be had from a pair of believers who don't mind having a dig at themselves and their faith.
The congregation gathers again this Sunday at its spiritual home at Lazy Susan's, before the pair head off on a national tour to save a few souls, including a run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April.