I saw part one of the Intergalactic Nemesis Wednesday night. Immediately after, I asked my editor if I could skip part two.
Intergalactic Nemesis promises a pulp fiction-inspired story about an alien invasion, with three actors playing a dozen parts, a foley artist creating all the sounds on stage, live music, and giant projections of comic book images. It delivers all of them, but none of the parts are very good and the sum of the parts no better.
The production tries to be a little tongue-in-cheek, a pulp fiction parody, but it only does that from time to time. Most of its jokes are told straight — this isn’t a re-imagining of lowbrow science fiction — it’s just lowbrow science fiction. While this is a comic book of sorts, most comic books develop interesting characters; this has little other than stock characters. There’s Molly, the dame reporter; Timmy, her innocent sidekick; and a bald villain with an evil laugh. In the original stories like this, a gal like Molly would take charge and break the feminine rules (it’s set in 1933, but there’s a lot of time and interplanetary travel going on). There’s nothing ironic about her passivity. Time-traveling hero Ben Wilcott does all the punching out of aliens, but frequently gets hysterical and gives up. None of these stereotypes are parodies of stereotypes, which is what one would hope for.
The actors succeed to varying degrees in switching from character to character. The sound effects are limited; there are a lot of footsteps and what seems like random tossing of things around during fights, and the foley artist isn’t much to watch either. The actors’ voices, the sound effects, and piano and keyboard music often compete with one another. The comic book images are are pretty standard and not even that well drawn. The script is boring, filled with leaden dialogue, and it isn’t funny.
So we’ll be spending Thursday night at something else.
This has not been a good year for theater at Spoleto. We’re grateful for Mayday, Mayday and hold out hope for Bullet Catch.