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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 27, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 17
Team of Heroes an evening of fun
Arts & Entertainment
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Team of Heroes an evening of fun

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Team of Heroes: Behind Closed Doors
Annex Theatre
Through May 19


It's time again for the Annex comic-book style legends Team of Heroes! Following the success of Alecto: Issue #1 that launched the Team into the world, Annex decided it needed a prequel, and at least one sequel. The prequel, Team of Heroes: Behind Closed Doors, has just opened and continues the achingly funny low-tech special effects that were inaugurated in the first show, while adding more puppets and choreographed hero-fighting.

Think of this as a comic come alive. This prequel shows the beginnings of this commercially branded Team of Heroes, people who have become 'enhanced' through injection of a wildly uncontrollable drug that apparently causes the world's worst minute of pain before charging the body with some kind of superpower.

Through the use of video interviews and cued flashbacks, we're introduced to the backstories of the two main super heroes, the Cap'n and Madam Mayhem (Jason Sharp, Tracy Leigh), and eventually to the backstory for insipidly named Miss Dixie (Danielle Daggerty). Perhaps due to too much material, Shock Wave's (Nik Doner) background isn't included.

Indeed, this prequel is so full of information that its bulk overshadows the rest of the story. It's clear that the Annex team is enthusiastic about the concept, written again by Alexander Harris and directed again by Jaime Roberts. It's a fun romp, though it has some interesting deeper themes. But enthusiasm kind of runs over with somewhat overdone plotlines and too many short scenes with elaborate scene changes.

The Team is run by Melody Knox (a very in-charge Angela DiMarco), who takes orders from some higher-up we never see. Yes, they're supposed to save people's lives, but there are often a lot of dead people, too. Knox tosses them off by suggesting that, after being well compensated, survivors and relatives will look at that day 'as the best day of their lives.' Of course they will.

A very dexterous and funny duo, Sam Hagen and Ryan Higgins, play multiple funny extra roles, such as Russian mob thieves who get rehabilitated (kinda), and Hagen gets the funniest bit of the show as a singing, dancing gorilla, 8. Rachel Jackson reprises her role as Chaos Theory, the supervillain, who has a portable sidekick, Randy, a 'Count' puppet (think Sesame Street) who is her lover. Ashley Bagwell and Jana Hutchison complete the versatile cast.

Annex is a very lean operation, and one of their hallmarks is working with tiny dollars to create good sets, and in this case, creative and cheap special effects. Look for the high-tech safe protection room, the shockwave produced by hero Shock Wave, the creative slow-motion fight choreography by Casey Brown, and the hysterical miniatures of the Team as they parachute in to save the day and are tied up and trapped inside a mountain.

Costume designer Candace Frank has been very busy sewing spandex outfits and set designer Devin August Petersen continues the comic theme with hand-drawn set panels. Puppets were designed by talented puppeteer Jackson.

It's definitely a night to enjoy, and you can puzzle out the deeper meanings later. Look for the sequel in 2013, we're told.

For more information, go to www.annextheatre.org or call 206-728-0933.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

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