The (thin and svelte) Red Avenger is flying his snow vehicle over the wintry City, along with his (rather less than svelte) sidekick Caribou Man (aka Rudy). Suddenly, the air is filled with flying droids from the dreaded H(erod) Corporation, shooting their Despair Ray indiscriminately! The City is doomed!
But wait. There. Behind the Motel de Six (which has no vacancy) Niceness Girl (aka Mary) is in labor, about to give birth to Wonder Baby. WB will save the world – but only if the Red Avenger can hold off the vile H Corp. Can he?
Can he indeed? Writer/director Bill Corbett‘s amazing Super Powered Revenge Christmas #1 (produced by Joking Envelope at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 Franklin, through Dec 18) has at its center a very serious question: is an honest happy ending possible? A comic book writer (anti-happy ending) and his semi-ex girlfriend/illustrator (pro) burst into a sleepy bar arguing this point vociferously. The bartender and two not entirely sober barflies are soon drawn into the story, playing various characters, e.g., Frostina, Uber-Brain, the (extremely peckish) Seven Headed Monster, Ebenezer (the nasty head of H Corp), et al. The play is complicated, and not always easy to follow, but Corbett’s writing sparkles and the story moves fast. Will it end happily? Or not?
I won’t tell you. I will say, however, that Joking Envelope’s five person cast – Joseph Scrimshaw, Emily Gunyou Halaas, John Middleton, Matt Erkel and the inimitable Mo Perry – has at this oddball material with inspiring abandon. Everyone is excellent, but Scrimshaw has to be singled out for especial praise. As our narrator (“And then…” “And then…”) he keeps the play zipping along. I kept waiting for his energy to flag. It never does. Grand work.
There are, Lord knows, glitzier holiday shows out there, but for pure goofiness none can surpass this piece. Is Corbett working on the comic book? The #1 in the title gives me hope that he might be. Look! Up there in the sky! More intelligent than a speeding bullet! With his thing of toys! It’s… the Red Avenger.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
For more info about John check out his website.