Theatre, Comedy
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(13user reviews)
 (© Darren Bell)
© Darren BellThomas Nelstrop (Moses)
 (© Darren Bell)
© Darren BellDana Haqjoo (Pharoah), Antonia Davies (Aviva), Greg Barnett (NotMoses)
 (© Darren Bell)
© Darren BellJasmine Hyde as the Princess and Niv Petel (Rameses)
 (© Darren Bell)
© Darren BellThomas Nelstrop (Moses), Dana Haqjoo (Pharoah), Greg Barnett (NotMoses)

This sub-'Life of Brian' comedy is NotGood

This scrappy, cheerily blasphemous farce aims to do for the Old Testament what ‘Monty Python’s The Life of Brian’ did for the Gospels. It takes a lot of chutzpah to follow so brazenly in the footsteps of Cleese, Palin and co, yet this feels like a third-rate rehash of that work of genius (it even ends with a song; a bad one). As a loosely-linked, overlong bunch of sketches in serious need of an edit, ‘NotMoses’ is passable; as a two-act religious satire, it’s barely coherent. 

In the style of a big, brash pantomime, with garish digital backdrops, loud costumes and unreliable false beards, filmmaker-turned-playwright Gary Sinyor retells the story of Moses, imagining that another baby in the rushes, the Manchester-accented NotMoses, narrowly missed out on being God’s chosen one. Meanwhile, the real Moses won’t accept his Jewish heritage even though he declares ‘Gesundheit!’ whenever someone sneezes and says he’s free to marry any woman his mother chooses (ba-boom). Sinyor conflates familiar Biblical moments (the parting of the Red Sea; the plague of frogs) with childish flights of imagination, including Moses grilling a kebab in the Burning Bush or discussing the merits of shawarma with an Arabic nomad (‘Is lamb!’ ‘Is lamb!’ ‘Is lamb is awesome!’ Groan).   

It’s worth remembering that Python’s irreverent take on the Bible wasn’t jokily irreligious for the sake of it; it was a framework for great gags aimed at modern times. Bar the limited fun of sending up the details of any or all religions, the humour in ‘NotMoses’ is haphazard and forced. The comedy is so base and random that when Sinyor strains to make some serious points about faith in the play’s closing moments, it just feels strange and awkward. The deeply conservative should approach ‘NotMoses’ with caution; anyone else will find its targets as soft as its jokes.

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
2 people listening
2 of 2 found helpful

We saw Not Moses last weekend and had a great time. It achieved something rarely seen in the West End - a refreshingly anarchic script that retains such broad appeal. Gary Sinyor has managed to do something that few have done before. He has taken serious sideswipes at all three major religions, made us laugh, and yet offended no one. I don't get the straightfaced seriousness of the time out critic. I say go get a ticket, see the show, and find out for yourself.

1 of 1 found helpful

I had a sneaking suspicion that 'NotMoses' was going to be a bit of a Marmite play and I was right! During the first ten minutes I didn't even crack a smile and lamented that I wasn't in an aisle seat, but not long after that I was in hysterics! The actors playing Moses, NotMoses and NotMoses' father were superb and really carried it through the weaker parts. 

Some of the jokes were a little close to the bone, but you can't say the script targeted anyone in particular. The writers did well to mock as many people as possible so as not to offend anyone too much and some of the jokes were absolutely brilliant. I feel like they milked some funny bits a little, repeating the same format three or four times, but the audience loved it and I left on a high after the totally random finale.

If you're easily offended, maybe give it a miss, but if you like a dose of irreverent humour you'll love this!

1 of 1 found helpful

"Not Moses hits the spot when it comes to laugh out loud gags and old fashioned humour. Make up your own mind rather than be swayed by reviews-there are some truly funny moments in the play and we had a fantastic evening".

1 of 1 found helpful

Saw notmoses on Saturday night with a bunch of friends. Contrary to the reviews below the atmosphere was electric and high energy. The jokes were in abundance, clever and well written. We laughed from start to finish and has a great night out. The CGI projections were amazing. The cast were fabulous and looked like they were having a ball. This is an irreverent comedy and should be taken as such. Have a drink, loosen up and go see this hilarious comedy!


This play is trying to hang on to the coat tails of The Book or Mormon and, although it doesn’t meet the same standards, it’s not a bad attempt.  The jokes are mostly funny, if not a little clichéd, and the performances are fun.  You leave happy and I guess that’s the sign of a good play...

I went and had a good night out.

This show is a re-telling of the Moses and the Exodus of the Jews story. If you are very religious it might not be so good for you, but if you don't take religion too seriously or you are an Atheist or agnostic it's a funny look at religions. I think it would be very popular with tourists too, because a lot of people know the story and there's a fair amount of visual and slapstick type humour, so if you don't speak much English it's still entertaining.

It is a visual feast with some brilliant CGI backdrops and some great costumes.

My favourite bits were when the plagues started and when Moses made himself a kebab. Just very silly comedy, but I liked it. All the actors were great and I had a fun night out.

Maybe I am not the most intellectual of people but I would recommend this to people who want to go out in town and have a night that will make them laugh. It's classic British humour. 

The show started without a bang, more of a thud with a few echoes. I thought the show did get better as it went on, though. The actors were funny and delivered the script well, save a couple of stutters. I felt the first half dragged on a little but all in all a fun night at the theatre.

When I went to see the show with my friends it was a full house and people were bursting with belly laughs.  The actors were fantastic and made it really fun to watch.  The set worked really well and the huge screens helped transport you into biblical times. It's light hearted, humorous and really good fun.

Staff Writer

We saw Not Moses last evening and we had a fantastic time. The play is hilarious ...its a comedy and should be taken as depicts the old testaments with jokes and gags! the performance of the actor was brillant! Don't give too much credit to Time Out's critics on this one and go find out yourself out Not Moses while its still on stage!

t's a comedy . The night I went the theatre was packed . Sadly the cast didn't remain on stage long enough to soak up the applause . The play's hero , the affable Not Moses challenges convention against a backdrop of religious fervour whether it's worshiping the divine entity or a golden calf . Even the son of God is heard to challenge his father's authority . If you take anything from these reviews , it's to make your own mind up and judge the play for yourself . Perhaps one day the play will be seen a trilogy alongside life of Brian and Book of Mormon .....God only knows

We actually had a fab night out at this play, despite what the review says. There was non-stop laughter from the audience and an amazing camaraderie. Pure fun and hilarity - we really enjoyed ourselves...

When statements such as ‘If you love Life of Brian, then you’re going to love this’, and ‘wildly hilarious’ are put out there to promote new biblical comedy show, Not Moses, you expect something amazingly and brilliantly funny. I had high expectations, and unfortunately they were not met.

The story begins in ancient Egypt when a Princess finds a baby in a basket floating down the river (Not Moses), but it’s crying and she doesn’t like the look of him, so she puts him back and instead takes another baby who also happens to be floating down the river (Prince Moses). As a result, Not Moses grows up to be a slave and Prince Moses studies accountancy at Pharaoh’s court, and so the story unfolds about how they end up meeting and (potentially) lead an exodus.

Frustratingly, the show has all the ingredients that should make it brilliant- the cast are great, the set is simple yet effective, the plot works, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be funny. It just doesn’t hit the mark. The jokes didn’t land- apart from a few. In fact, it started out really funny, setting a bench-mark which the remaining 90 minutes failed to hit, especially the second half.

It’s a shame, but it was an almighty let-down for me.

NotMoses is utter drivel, best avoided. About a quarter of the audience left during the interval; I stayed in the hope the show would improve. It didn't. It is seriously unfunny.