SPACE CAPTAIN: Captain of Space!
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
August 31, 2012
The planet Earth is doomed and only our hero Rocky Lazar can save us from certain destruction! With the help of his trusty team can Rocky stop the evil King Xayno from pulling the moon into the Earth with his Gravity Ray in time? Tune in to No Tea Productions’ latest romp, Space Captain: Captain of Space, to find out!
Do you remember the old film serials from the 1930’s and 40’s such as Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers? No Tea Productions and playwright Jeff Sproul have taken this beloved genre and created a hilarious parody that is nonstop entertainment from beginning to end. A good third of the show is presented on screen and this production brings the film to life by pulling the characters off the silver screen and throwing them onto the stage.
Their fearless leader, Rocky Lazar, is your typical arrogant hero full of bravado and his love interest, Jean Jarvis, is mousy and useless and prone to fainting at the drop of a hat. His sidekick, Chip Skipper, is killed in every scene but always seems to not actually die (though Rocky eventually wishes he would) and the good doctor, Horst Karlock, is dedicated to saving his own hide. Together they travel to a distant planet in their powerful rocket ship to confront King Xayno and along the way they meet all kinds of galactic oddballs including Klarff, who is a prince among his squirrel people on the moon and Lady Actulus, who is a psychic turned psychologist living on a barren asteroid. Their adventure is filled with thrills and spills as they discover more of the galaxy and the far reaches of their hearts.
Sproul’s script will leave you in stitches. It is parody at its best. He creates the world of the campy, melodramatic space serial and then skews it just a little toward a contemporary audience while letting the cheesiness of the genre work on its own. It’s funny to us today to watch these old movies but they weren’t meant to be funny and Sproul understands that. He pens some corny, tongue-in-cheek lines knowing that they can be played seriously for the best comic effect. His main characters are oddly well rounded for a parody such as this and that makes for some very interesting plot twists. Director Lindsey Moore Sproul sets up some great comic bits and she keeps a fast pace so we never feel a lull in the action. She embraces the melodrama and guides the cast to bold gestures and inflated speech to hilarious effect. The film, designed and produced by Jeremy Mather, is perfectly shot and the editing and art direction are great. The sound effects are also very impressive. Another cool feature is that the black and white color palate from the film is pulled off the screen by costumer Caroline O’Hare who does a great job matching the look of the film with her gray scale costumes on stage.
The ensemble is a dedicated crew of actors with perfect comic timing and no fear. They throw themselves into their characters and make the best of every line and action. Matthew Wise is great as the macho, short-pants-wearing action hero and Alicia Barnatchez is eternally funny and cute as Jean Jarvis. Jared Warner is especially funny as the smug scientist Dr Karlock and Jeremy Mather is an absolute scream as the always peppy boy scout Chip Skipper. Playwright Sproul is also very funny as the misunderstood tyrant King Xayno. The entire cast, film and stage, does a fantastic job!
Space Captain: Captain of Space is a blast. It is funny and entertaining and it never takes itself too seriously. No Tea Productions has another comic gem to offer audiences looking for a fun experience.