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5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Blast Off!: Rocket Girl Explodes at New Langton Arts

By Alison Gilbert

The cartoon-like funniness of Thunderbird Theatre Company's newest endeavor Rocket Girl is sure to leave a mark on all who see it. This energetic sci-fi parody brings us back to days when science fiction was just a little bit simpler. Robots were metal cylinders, superheroes were do-gooders, evil nemesis' plotted to take over the universe, and space gorillas were evil assistants chock full of Shakespearian melodrama. Wait. what was that again?

Rocket Girl may bring us back to the old days of Flash Gordon and even Star Wars, but with this colorful cast of characters, a new breed of sci-fi is in town. This breed is complete with blond bombshell heroine Rocket Girl, cackling jealous rival Narsi Neptuna, and clean cut love interest Miles O' Manmeat. However, most hilariously this breed includes a demented evil sidekick, Tug the Tumor that Lives complete with 'mini me' sidekick - a mini tumor head attached to his side. Rounding out the character list are southern belle Rocket leaguer Kelly Komet, bursting with gentle southern charm - quite a departure from the otherwise low brow humor of this comedy, and the aforementioned Gorilla Shakespeare or "Shakespeaah" - intermittently spouting Shakespearian quotations throughout show.

The plot goes a little something like this: Rocket Girl, the pride of the Rocket League (played by an energetic Rana Kangas-Kent) travels around the universe fighting evil and kicking ass with her trusty side-kicks, prissy robot Megapong V and the dim-witted Polly Planetarium (played by Cameron Weston and Dianna David). Recently, the beloved Rocket Girl has become somewhat of a media whore and the evil Rocket Leaguer Narsi Neptuna (wonderfully played by Sarah Mitchell) is out to take over her fame and power with the help of her band of space-age misfits U.N.I.C.E.F - (United Network of Incredibly Crafty Evil F---ers).

Rocket Girl is packed with sexual innuendo, both straight and not so straight, ranging from the lusty leader of the Rocket league, Rear Admiral Leggs Akimbo played by Jennifer Lucas, to the S&M likings of Space Pope's eager sidekick Altar Boy. Most every scene in this show is topped off with some compromising sexual endeavor. The sexual humor is bold and tentatively guards the gate between giving the audience bombs of laughter and the giving the audience bomb-like stomachaches. For me, the gate swung more open on the laughter end - but a warning for those conservatives and faint-of-heart types. The humor pokes fun at the melodrama of the 'futuristic' 1950's sci-fi adventure, with a millennial twist! This corniness is epitomized by my favorite song in the show, "Let's Break Out and Make Out" a duet by Rocket Girl and boyfriend/scientist/former stripper, Miles O'Manmeat.

Worth mentioning are the fabulous costumes designed by Jason Harding and Sybil Tate. Especially colorful, are the animated, and detailed costumes of Tug the Tumor that Lives, Megapong V and VI, and the Gorilla Shakespeare - complete with adult diaper. Those along with the Dr. Squirrel costume all made lasting impressions.

The show has an array of well-choreographed fight scenes (and in the tiny New Langton Arts theater this is a difficult feat) masterfully choreographed by John Ficara. And although the show has more plot turns than an average daytime soap, and many of the musical numbers are below par, none of it matters in the end. The bright actors, incredible set, and delicious characters make Rocket Girl outta sight! You will leave the theater with your toes tapping, and a smile on your face, guaranteed!

Rocket Girl is playing through November 16th at New Langton Arts, located at 1246 Folsom Street (between 8th and 9th streets). Tickets are $18, doors open at 7:30 pm and the performance begins at 8:00 pm. New Langton can be reached by phone at 415.626.5416 or check out their website at newlangtonarts.org.