Entertainment » Theatre

The Intergalactic Nemesis Book One: Target Earth

by Michelle  Sandoval
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 4, 2013
’Intergalactic’ at the Segerstrom Center
’Intergalactic’ at the Segerstrom Center  

Somewhere in a galaxy far away lives a race of monsters called the Zygonians. They are evil, slimy and determined to destroy the human race. This past weekend the Segerstrom Center for the Arts received a visit from these sludge-covered nasties in what marked the California debut of Jason Neulander's "The Intergalactic Nemesis, Book One: Target Earth."

The show is marketed as a live-action graphic novel, and as a huge fan of both theater and comic books, I naturally jumped at the chance to attend. This one-of-a-kind show blasted off at light speed, taking the audience on a whirlwind adventure through space and time guaranteed to please the kid (or geek) in all of us.

The story takes place in 1933, where we meet Molly Sloan, an acclaimed journalist, and her stalwart assistant Timmy Mendez. They soon team up with Ben Wilcott, a mysterious librarian, and with the help of some friends along the way, a most charming Algerian freedom fighter named Jean-Pierre Desperois and some robots from the Robot Planet, they embark on a journey to save Earth from the evil Zygonians.

The storytelling approach is what really makes the show a stand out. Comic book images are displayed on a screen behind the stage while three talented voice actors play out the scenes. They are joined by a Foley artist (sound effects guru) and one pianist who provide all the sound effects. Nothing is pre-recorded, what you see and hear before you is what you get. And what you get is one truly awesome performance.

Danu Uribe, David Higgins and Chris Gibson bring the characters to life for us, and there are plenty of oddballs in the story to keep them busy. Each actor is responsible for at least three personalities, all unique and fabulous in their own right. Their voices take center stage, but their facial expressions will have you laughing throughout.

Danu Uribe, David Higgins and Chris Gibson bring the characters to life for us, and there are plenty of oddballs in the story to keep them busy.

Gibson was an absolute pleasure, jumping from the evil, effeminate mesmerist Mysterion the Magnificent, to the rough and rugged Jean-Pierre. His ability to change character so quickly and efficiently was truly impressive and something I have never seen firsthand. His performances were the highlight of the evening and truly stellar.

The sound effects were phenomenal, it was great fun watching Cami Alyes create elaborate sounds with the simplest items. Shoes treading across gravel, crashing thunder and trains were all created with everyday knick-knacks. My favorite was when Alyes ran two cinderblocks across each other mimicking the sound of a stone trap door opening and closing. Helping her out was the skilled pianist Kenneth Redding, Jr., who provided the music to this tremendous soundtrack.

There are over 1200 hand-drawn comic book panels created by Tim Doyle, who has produced art for giants such as Lucasfilm, Hasbro and Disney. With the help of color artists Paul Hanley and Lee Duhig, the creative team brings the visuals to life in this fast paced adventure.

I must note that the show, while great fun, runs a bit long, especially since children made up a large portion of the audience. I noticed that a considerable amount of seats was empty coming in after intermission, which was unfortunate because the conclusion was not one to be missed. I only hope the parents of the sleepy children picked up a copy of the graphic novel (for sale and signed in the lobby) to read to their little ones later, I'm sure they would love to know what happened to our heroes in the end.

There are so many remarkable components to this production. From the beautiful artwork to the talented voice actors to the expert sound effects, the creator has pulled out all the stops to ensure this show is one you will never forget. His choice to present it in true comic book form, with performances released in a serial format, means we have more in store from "The Intergalactic Nemesis. "Book 2: The Robot Planet" will begin touring soon. Neulander has truly created something fantastic with "The Intergalactic Nemesis," and I am excited to see what he has in store for us next.

"The Intergalactic Nemesis" runs through June 2 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr. in Costa Mesa. For information or tickets, call 714-556-2787 or visit www.theintergalacticnemesis.com.

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