The Kraine Theater
written by Jeff Sproul
directed by Lindsey Moore Sproul
Happily, this Flash Gordon rip-off doesn't begin and end by parodying the cheap movie serials of the Great Depression. For one thing, it bounces exuberantly between live action and filmed location shots. Add the styrofoam “puppet” spaceships, which fire be-glittered popsicle sticks for laser blasts, and the production's aesthetic playfully echoes the high-tech/low-fi future of pre-WW2 SF. The bigger surprise is that the playwright Jeff Sproul takes his characters (semi-)seriously. Space Captain Rocky Lazer loses his two-fisted confidence when he realizes his love interest may be turned off by his patronizing attitude. To be a better hero, he must better himself. In fact, every character grows―something Flash, Ming, and the rest never did. Director Lindsey Moore Sproul, unfortunately, is more comfortable with Airplane-style hijinks. A stronger hand would've cut the plot's repetitions, picked up the pace, and even staged the actors better. Most importantly, she would've demanded a stronger end to the arc of damsel Jean Jarvis. Alicia Barnatchez gives a witty performance, but finally her part never rises above the role of Rocky's love interest. That fix would add sass to the show's snappy pleasures.
Space Captain: Captain of Space plays at the Kraine Theater, closing on Sept. 15. Tickets?