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Open: 08/12/10- Close: 08/22/10 Spacemen From Space
Reviewed for By: Lauren Wissot

Ian W. Hill’s “Spacemen from Space: An Exciting New Serial for the Stage in 6 Thrill-Packed Episodes!” is mindless entertainment for the couch potato set – and I mean that as a compliment. Presented by Gemini CollisionWorks and The Brick Theater, Inc. the show is a mash-up mash note to a bygone era, a time when men were men, women were dames, and jet pack-propelled superheroes saved the world – or something to that effect. What “Spacemen from Space” lacks in coherence and continuity it certainly makes up for in zany homespun fun.

Structured as a Roosevelt era, B-movie serial the plot revolves around a battle for control of the world’s weather systems. Dementedly bouncing off one another like balls in a pinball machine are Queen Oneida of the planet Ataraxia, The Lavender Spectre and his Evil Minions, radio heartthrob Cowboy Adam and his backup musicians The Lonely Valley Boys, superhero scientist Rocket Brannon, and intrepid reporter Chickie West (who has the best pulp lines such as “You’re full of gypsum, Simpson”). Then there are the assorted scientists and G-men who descend on the ground zero of Cowboy Adam’s Rancho Bardo to add to the colorful insanity. With its low-tech props and stapled-together set design (which given enough refrigerator boxes, kitchen utensils and toaster ovens you could probably recreate at home), period costumes and Saturday-morning-cartoons score the show soon grows on you like the cheesiest TV program.

Yet like airtime stuffed with commercials “Spacemen from Space” is loaded with shtick that should be cut (or at least spread over two performances considering its two-hours-plus running time). Fortunately, to designer/director Hill’s credit, the show never falls from cute to cutesy. And because the 21-member cast truly relishes being given permission to engage in bad acting (not to mention evil cackling and mind control stunts), the energy remains high. Like Cowboy Adam and his band’s simple but catchy, country tune interludes, “Spacemen from Space” is gung-ho to do more with less. Which adds up to more than the sum of its lovingly scavenged parts.

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