An Act Of God, a sinfully funny comedy starring Zoe Lyons, is coming to The Vaults Theatre

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS

We all knew Ariana was right. God is a woman and it turns out she meant Zoe Lyons.

A legendary stand-up comic who you may have caught on Mock The Week and Celebrity Masterchef, Zoe is now taking to the stage to answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since creation.

In an alternative Christmas message, Zoe delivers a fresh set of 10 commandments for the world.

An Act Of God is written by David Javerbaum and has already been a smash hit on Broadway. Now it has been rewritten for a British audience with material just for Zoe herself.

We caught up with the new God ahead of the upcoming show to find out more. đź’«

DIVA: Can you tell us a bit about the show and the whole concept? 

ZOE LYONS: Well, without revealing too much, God decides to return to Earth to put a few things straight with the people they have created about what is expected of them. God can choose to appear in any form, but for this particular show they have chosen to take my form. So, for this run of An Act Of God, God looks very much like Zoe Lyons.

How did you get involved in the project? Were you directly asked or was there an audition process you had to go through? 

I had worked with the producers before in Edinburgh a few years ago on a show called Outings, which was based on real people’s coming out stories. They asked if I was interested in the part of God earlier this year and my first and only thought was, “Well, of course”. I have wanted to do more acting for ages and if someone asks if you would like to be the Lord Almighty, you don’t pass that leading role up for anything.

How does it feel to have your material written for you? 

Oh, it is lovely. David Javerbaum, the writer, is brilliantly funny and the script does feel very much like stand-up in places with the way it flows and the rhythm of it. What is very nice is that this script was originally written for Broadway, so we have had to update it and include local references. David is very open to ideas from the cast and incorporating them into the script, which I think is lovely.  

Was it difficult to adjust as you’ve built your comedy career on the work you’ve written? 

Not at all! I have longed to speak other people’s words for ages. I do love creating my own ideas and routines, but I also go through long periods where nothing seems to want to present itself as material. So, to not have the pressure of writing a show is a treat. However, because I haven’t written it, it is, of course, harder to learn so that has become a bit of a challenge.

You have to put a lot of trust into someone to take on their words – would you like to work with other writers in the future? 

I am always very happy to work with other people. Stand-up is a lonely, solitary profession at times and any opportunity I get to even run ideas past a fellow comic or a writer is a joy. I recently wrote one episode for a pilot that will go out on Radio 4 in January and that came about completely from bouncing ideas around with my pal Barry until we had an episode written. Without him, I would still be staring at a blank page. 

You’re playing God – they’re pretty big shoes to fill. How did you prepare for this role? 

Well, I think my wife might argue that I have been in training for this role for quite some time. It turns out that I am like the version of God David is presenting. I now have a theory that God is actually a perimenopausal woman prone to tantrums and bouts of completely irrational and often unacceptable behaviour. What I guess I am trying to say is I feel that I was made for this part. And anyone who says otherwise will be obliterated. 

Does it feel pretty powerful to be up there on stage as God? 

Not going to lie…… yep…. yes it does. I think the longer the show goes on, the more magnificent my diva demands will become. I reckon two weeks into the run I will be demanding that I am carried everywhere… and like Mariah, I will stop doing stairs!

What rule would you personally like to enforce on the modern world? 

Ok, this might sound like a weird one… but everyone has to talk to a random stranger once a week for 30 minutes. I feel like the world has become so divided and a lot of the walls we build up around ourselves are to protect us from imagined or sometimes exaggerated differences. If we took the time to properly talk to one another, we would find more common ground than we suspected existed. We don’t have to agree on everything. It would be odd, and let’s be honest, dull if we did. But let us not be afraid to talk about our differences of opinion.

If there was a play based on your own Twitter account – what would you call it?

It would be called “Stories from the bins”. I have a slight obsession with the stuff people leave near or by bins, so I take pictures and post them on Twitter. It is a form of passive fly tipping, but some of the montages of crap I have found near bins are almost worthy of a Turner Prize.

Other than God, is there a dream role you’d love to play on the stage? 

Well, after you have played God, there is only really one other role to match that for Biblical weight. So I shall be polishing my horns and buffing up my hooves and slipping into something devilish while I await the call from my agent!

You can catch An Act of God starring Zoe Lyons, written by David Javerbaum, 27 November­ – 12 January at The Vaults Theatre. Make sure you grab your tickets here for a festive treat! 🎄

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