* Written by Paul Rudnick * Directed by Christopher Ashley * Starring Alan Tudyk, Juan Carlos Hernandez, Becky Ann Baker, and Kathryn Meisle.

In the world according to Paul Rudnick, in the beginning God created Adam and Steve, who in turn created shampoo and conditioner. God also created Jane and Mabel, who invented the wheel and clothing with pockets. Barreling to beat Terrence McNally in the Blasphemy Sweepstakes, Rudnick has recast the Bible as *The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told*, a gay-centric creation story that plumbs the mythological depths of our most cherished stereotypes. Adam and Steve are two hunky twinks apparently born wearing jockstraps, which they lose when theyre bumped from the Garden of Eden. Adam: Youre naked! You know what that means? Steve: I have to get to a gym. *Bada-boom.*

The zingers never stop flowing from the famously fertile and perverted mind of Rudnick, author of the hit play *Jeffrey* and movies such as *In and Out* and *Addams Family Values*. *The Most Fabulous Story*, which opened in December for a limited run at New York Theater Workshop and may resurface in a commercial run in the new year, is a full-length play, though play is kind of stretching it. Its more like two excellent *Saturday Night Live* sketches back to back, with flimsy plots on which to string a lifeline of laughs. The first act views the Old Testament through a queer lens. As co-architects of civilization, fastidious Adam teaches butch Jane the finer points of laundry. We do not grab and bunch, he scolds, we fluff and fold! When everyone herds onto the ark to escape the flood, Jane and Mabel learn about non-monogamy from a rabbit named Fluffy and a pig named Babe. On dry land again, the original foursome discover a strange race of human beings who describe the horrifying practice of procreation. Were gay, Adam sniffs. We dont have children. We have taste.

Act two skips ahead to a Christmas Eve party in contemporary Chelsea. Adam has decked out the apartment with every conceivable piece of Xmas kitsch (so much for gay taste). Steve is on protease inhibitors (28 prayers a day), and Jane is expecting, despite her protesting, Im not supposed to be pregnant, Im a bulldyke! New Age Mabel has arranged for her and Jane to be married at the party by a handicapped lesbian rabbi with a cable-access TV show and a hotline (1-900-SHEBREW). The jokes are up-to-the-minute topical, and as with all sketch humor, some deliver themselves, and others need help. Here Rudnick and his longtime director Christopher Ashley are abetted by some hardy troupers, including Becky Ann Baker as Jane, Lisa Kron (of the Five Lesbian Brothers) as Babe/Rabbi Sharon, and especially Peter Bartlett who plays a department-store Santa as an exquisitely curdled fairy.

There is evidence throughout the play that there are some serious thoughts brewing beneath the comic froth. If God made Adam and Steve, it seems to be asking, who made God? Why do humans seem to require religious faith, and if God is so wonderful why are we so afraid of Him/Her/It? Although these are worthy questions, it must be said that Paul Rudnick is no Friedrich Nietzsche. On the other hand, theres not a single laugh in *Thus Spake Zarathustra*. So there should be no doubt as to whos the philosopher and whos most fabulous.

The Advocate, February 2, 1999

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