Hollywood Fringe 2017
A high-energy musical space race.
LOGLINE: A high-energy musical space race.
With Hollywood Fringe 2017, we see the triumphant return of Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party, the Los Angeles musical improv troop, banded together once again to continue their tradition of serving up a funny and energetic musical comedy starting with the letter “T” (after 2015’s “Timeheart” and 2016’s “Thug Tunnel”). This is their best yet.
Set entirely on a space ship way in the future, a bitter rivalry between Earth and Mars comes to a head in the 4242 Intergalympics and one ragtag group of Earthlings are lumped together with the unenviable task of trying to beat the Martian team in a race circling around the sun. At the helm is Captain Davin Galaxy (Miles Crosman) who lives in the shadow of his legendary father who was killed years ago in the very same race. On Galaxy’s crew are the misanthropic and nihilistic pilot Pattern Magerk (Molly Dworsky), overly emotional robot Mambo (Dave Reynolds), difficult to understand mechanic Mick Cribbins (Chris Bramante), and engineer Joules Johnson (Kat Primeau) who has an unhealthy addiction to juice. Galaxy and crew are having a hard time getting excited for the race because nobody thinks they can win, the Martians (played by band members and composers Sam Johnides and Branson NeJame) continue to make fun of them, and they don’t really get along well as a team. But as they get into the race, they discover that by trusting each other, they might just win this thing.
What makes Robot Teammate and The Accidental Party so compelling is their unified across-the-board energy, talent, and readiness to employ their improv skills to patch over any technical glitch that would otherwise hamper another show. And technical glitches there were: feedback from the lav mics, modest wardrobe malfunctions…all is forgiven because everyone’s having so much fun.
Crosman’s Galaxy thrives from the input of his crew, each engaging in their own way. Reynolds is sweet and lovable as the naive android (an actual robot teammate), Bramante zips by as a Southern-bred good ol’ boy with a heart of gold, Dworsky makes a satisfying journey from apathetic curmudgeon to caring friend to the rest of the crew, and Primeau’s wild energy is so off the wall that in no time her hair goes full Einstein. Everyone’s so in their element you almost forget how skilled they are at singing and dancing. Meanwhile Johnides and NeJame’s epic musical accompaniment does wonders for raising the stakes in this intergalactic competition.
This party is no accident: Nicely packaged together by director (and ship pilot) Molly Dworsky, “Turbulence!” is one of the can’t-miss musicals of the Fringe season. -ZACHARY BERNSTEIN