Review: 'Nemesis, Book Two' an imperfect joyride of a show
After his spoken introduction at the beginning of “The Intergalactic Nemesis, Book Two: Robot Planet Rising,” writer-director Jason Neulander released an energizing yell that was more suited for a rock concert than a theatre piece.
The show asks what it feels like to be inside the studio recording a radio serial in the 1930s. It's an enjoyable but ultimately thin piece of theatre. Thankfully it isn't a typical piece of theatre.
Using geeky references and a clear love for over-the-top science fiction and action stories, the convoluted plot moves along at a fast clip. At least it does after intermission. The first act is slow, with lots of exposition that attempts both to explain what is happening now, and explain what happened in “Book One.”
Those who stayed through the 20-minute intermission were treated to a bang-up ending rife with comedy and action at almost every turn. The audience laughed and applauded throughout.
Dressed in vintage even-ingwear, voice actors Danu Uribe, David Higgins and Christopher Lee Gibbons performed every spoken part. That meant at times a performer playing more than one character was in a conversation with himself.
The voice actors and Foley performer Cami Alys sold it hard — each word, emotion, click and whir with rubber-faced expressions, dramatic inflections and winking references to each other and the audience, which really brought the projected images to life.
The expressive and energetic illustrations tended to function as placeholders or scenery most of the time, slightly preventing the suspension of disbelief. At times they were integral to a joke or in providing the context for certain sounds on stage.
When the images were played in service of dramatic pauses, laughs or visual callbacks, they really worked, guaranteeing a laugh or a clap.
When they didn't work, which was the case a few times, the resulting brief pauses became distractions.
“The Intergalactic Nemesis, Book Two: Robot Planet Rising” excels at exposing the nuts and bolts of live radio dramas, but if those aren't working in concert, the whole machine threatens to fall apart.
Joseph DiDomizio is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.