Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A futuristic sci-fi multimedia show with live music and interactive film projection. The premise of the piece has pop star siblings Jimmy and Cherry, with their manager Captain Leo and pet monkey Boots, kidnapped by an evil alien overlord who threatens to blow up their home planet earth unless they keep him constantly entertained via their radio show . They must avoid the sexy robot housekeeper, Jane, whilst planning their escape.
The piece proceeds via rock n’ roll musical numbers, a radio show complete with intergalactic advertising, and ‘recitative’ where the story is told, all intertwined with a large screen where communication with the evil alien overlord takes place – an ‘astral phone’. The overlord appears as a gigantic presence on stage, not only because of the size of his projected head, but also because of his far superior acting ability and dramatic material. It seemed at times as though his slots, where most of the action on stage ceased, were far too lengthy and sapped the energy from the characters on stage. His presence seemed larger than life and thus the characters on stage smaller than life. However, where there was interaction between the cast and the filmed backdrop this was impeccably timed and worked very well. The evil overlord tended to go off into his own monologues and I felt that it would have worked better to have more interaction between the cast and the overlord to make it feel more organic, and bring his presence more onto the stage.
Although the playing was obviously meant to reflect 50’s and 60’s TV shows and B movies the acting style only occasionally gave this impression, at other times seeming slightly under-rehearsed and giving the impression of a college production. The voice of Captain Leo was played like a croaking, husky cowboy, and although this fitted with his appearance, I felt that some other more subtle way could have been found to express this, the most masculine and heroic role of the piece. Conversely, Jimmy and Cherry as the wholesome, innocent boy and girl next door seemed to suffer as characters from the lack of believability of Captain Leo.
The look of the piece is impressive and well styled, with excellent costumes and glamorous high boots.
There could have been a lot more volume in the distorted guitar playing and indeed a lot more amplification all round. Nevertheless all the musical numbers were well played and sung.
Although I was entertained there was sufficient talent on stage for me to be wowed. It did not help matters that I was one of only three audience members, and I really hope that the cast can give their all to this production in future performances. The energy coming from the projected actor exceeds that of the actors on stage, so they need to turn up the volume and any other knobs that they can find. Then this will be a four star show and not a three.