I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for before I went to see The Intergalactic Nemesis, Book 1: Target Earth at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Reality check. This show is so different from anything I have ever seen, that even after interviewing the creator, cast and tour manager weeks beforehand, I still failed to grasp what I would eventually experience.
The Intergalactic Nemesis is a 90-minute feast for both eyes and ears. This show combines comic book artwork projected on a large screen behind the stage, three incredibly talented actors giving voice to a literal multitude of characters, and a sound effects expert doing her thing center-stage, all set to beautiful piano performed, of course, live. Truthfully, I was worried I was going to miss something incredible with so much packed onto one stage. I was fascinated.
The actors, Danu Uribe, Brock England and Christopher Lee Gibson, each portrayed a minimum of six (six!) characters. And these three can emote with the best of them. With personalities that filled the entire stage, it was hard to believe they never ventured more than a few inches in any one direction. Slipping easily from one character to the next, one accent to another, they portrayed everything from Russians to robots, and back again.
I was most surprised by the sound effects performed by Cami Alys. Clearly a vital organ in this masterpiece, Alys took her post front and center, surrounded by her sea of noisemakers and doo-dads. Not to be outdone by the actors to her right, her voice proved to be arguably the best instrument in her tool kit, lending itself to the lilt of creepy alien phantoms and the howls of Transylvanian wolves, just to name a few.
The piano, performed by Kenneth Redding, Jr., was the perfect counterbalance to the cacophony of sound effects. So subtle, almost imperceptible at times, the music floated beneath all else like an invisible current moving the audience through each scene. While the other sounds onstage commanded conscious attention, the piano succeeded in that most difficult yet crucial task of tying it all together, setting the scene and intensifying emotion at a subconscious level. Music can make or break anything as far as I’m concerned, and the piano in this piece was spot on.
A testament to the genius of The Intergalactic Nemesis was the wide range of ages in the audience. There were families with young children, college kids out with friends, silver-haired sweethearts – the whole spectrum well represented. And EVERYONE was having a great time. No easy feat by any means. The plot was intelligent enough to be engaging, yet goofy enough to keep kids howling and adults chuckling. Without giving too much away (since you are all going to go see it, right?!), the story centers around a prize-winning reportress, her spunky assistant, and a librarian of mysterious origin. Assisted by robots, the trio faces an evil genius working on behalf of mind-controlling aliens, who happen to be fatally allergic to “moon rocks” – a substance most of us present-day Earthlings consume on a daily basis. Will they succeed? Probably. Will you have a great time cheering them on their journey? Definitely!
(As a side note, the show does have a few scenes that might be a bit intense for young kids that frighten easily, though nothing that would warrant anything above a “G” rating, were this a film.)
The Intergalactic Nemesis is on tour NOW. Check out the website below for show times and locations:
Also, in case you missed my interview with the show’s awesome creator Jason Neulander, and his kooky-cool cast and crew, please click on the link below: