Fringe review: ‘Preacherman’

Preacherman, Reverend Nuge, Detroit, MI. Brown venue, 60 minutes, $10. (Discounts: Students, Fringe artists and volunteers.)

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Tommy Nugent

It’s a year when Fringe shows are obsessed with dogs and religion, and Preacherman sits firmly in the second category. Like Sherri D. Sutton in Don’t Make Fun of Jesus, Tommy Nugent grew up as a Southern Baptist, but then he went even further, becoming a Pentecostal, enrolling in Bible college, performing an exorcism on a fellow student and starting a youth ministry in Detroit.

It’s enough to make a non-fundamentalist’s head spin, and Nugent funds humor in a lot of it: Even the exorcism (or maybe especially the exorcism) comes with laughs. But it’s the next part of his life — when he was thrown out of the ministry, lost his faith and looked for his way at Burning Man, the counter-cultural festival in the Nevada desert — that Nugent wants to get across.

This is a guy who is searching, and it’s easy to feel sympathy for somebody so likable, somebody who is looking so hard for a path to follow. Preacherman doesn’t delve very deeply into anything, religious or not, and it’s not especially theatrical: It’s simply Nugent’s story as he tries to build his life. If part of that is finding Fringe audiences to listen to his tale, then all the more power to him.

Remaining shows:
Friday May 27, 10:25 p.m.
Saturday May 28, 11:55 p.m.
Sunday May 29, 6 p.m.

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