Is it a comic book? Or a radio program? Or a stage play? Or a piano concert? The Intergalactic Nemesis at The New Victory Theater is all of these, and it's fun for children, too. Writer and director Jason Neulander from Austin, TX has improved on the earlier sci-fi graphic novel and radio series--which have been gathering steam since 1996--and has brought Book One to New York. (Stay tuned for Book Two in 2014).
Performers David Higgins, Christopher Lee Gibson, and Danu Uribe stand at their golden-age-of-radio microphones. They are acting out a suspenseful story of human interaction with an evil bunch of space aliens. "Foley Artist" Cami Alys stands next to them, creating sound effects the good old-fashiouned way. (A plastic sheet is shaken to make thunder noises. A remote controlled toy truck provides robotic whirring.) As the cast converses, images from the original graphic novel are projected on the screen. This setup identifies who of the long list of characters is speaking. Nearby, Kenneth Redding, Jr. plays the piano in that truly earth-shattering way.
In the 1930s, Molly Sloan (Danu Uribe) and young sidekick Timmy Mendez (David Higgins) are in the Carpathian Mountains on a spy mission. Once they realize their adversary is an invasion fleet of Zygonians, they work against evil Mysterion the Magnificent and ally themselves with Tunisian smuggler Jean-Pierre Desperois and everybody's favorite nice guy from the future, Ben Wilcott (all played by Chritsopher Lee Gibson). The fight can't be won on Earth but involves a trip to the robot planet, where Elbee-Dee-Oh (Christopher Lee Gibson) fortunately is familiar with human food preparation. Yet it's hard to tell who will win once the Zygonian Queen (Danu Uribe) makes her appearance. What's that about the Hindenburg?
Even if you've read the graphic novels, I think you will enjoy the live show. I am a life-long fan of sci-fi radio and found this production to be lots of fun. Everyone involved in the artwork and projections did a great job, and, well, watching the live sound effects and music is always awesome. Kudos to The New Victory for bringing this adventure to kids and their friends.