Invader? I Hardly Know Her
nytheatre.com review by Alyssa Simon
August 20, 2010
Does anyone really know the person they love? Are you sure the wonderful woman you are about to marry isn't actually an extraterrestrial alien 300 years older than you who has been sent to Earth to destroy anti-matter in your landlady's toilet? Jason Powell's spoofy, silly, and entertaining sci-fi musical, Invader? I Hardly Know Her! attempts to answer these and other burning questions of the day with the help of a truly committed and talented cast.
Jason Powell also plays the hapless groom, Jack Warner, who gets the shock of his life when he finds out on his wedding day that his intended, Jennifer Ghebrox—wonderfully played with a straight face by Robyn Ferrari—is not at all who she seems when the nuptials are interrupted by Gibsh and Goob, other aliens sent to abduct them both.
Luckily, four government secret agents who have cleverly disguised themselves as bridesmaids are there to protect the couple. They are an all-girl group that call themselves the Fetish Girl Corps because they wear a French maid's uniform, Catholic girl's school outfit, Indian maid buckskin dress complete with braids, and a farmer's daughter overalls short-shorts combo, respectively.
The bride's sister is also not who she appears to be. She is not only an alien, she is Jennifer's—make that Gravonica's—ex-lover. The two sing about keeping secrets in order not to wound human male egos in one of the funnier songs in the show, "A Tiny Fabrication."
The second part of the show has the entire cast abducted on an intergalactic battleship hurtling through space to fight an evil entity bent on universal destruction. I have to admit that I'm not sure if the plot actually has that many unexplained events and holes or I did not understand what was going on because of sound issues.
The first three rows, on the evening I was there, laughed uproariously at almost every line and song lyric. People farther back, including my companion and I, were more silent because we seemed to catch every other word. I think it was partly because the music was very loud, but some voices were also harder to hear than others.
Strong standouts include Elizabeth McMonagle as Missy, the farmer's daughter / government-trained killer. With impeccable comic timing and wonderfully funny and elastic facial expressions, she shows the ironic humor of being a Fetish Girl as well as a human lethal weapon. Jason Powell also wins hearts as a lovable everyman in a literally out-of-this-world situation.
Rebecca Hengtenberg, the director, and Jessica Henderson, the choreographer, create lively stage pictures and make good use of the space, especially considering the large cast. If you are looking for a light and fun musical to see at FringeNYC, this just may be the ticket.