Roddenberry Pie's 'Khan!'-quers Fringe!
Khan! the Musical
KC Fringe Festival
Let's be honest -- the KC Fringe Festival is not the usual KC area theatre. The average KC produced show has at minimum a full week, night and day, in the space to rehearse the actors, work out the lighting cues, test the sound and make sure the props and costumes are 100%.
The average KC Fringe show gets about four minutes.
Okay, maybe it is a LITTLE more than that, but it is a ridiculously small amount of time with extremely restricted resources. Not to mention that the actors, producers and technicians are spread thin. That was evident in tonight's opening of "Khan! The Musical" Okay, there was a little problem with an opening sound cue. It happens -- It's Fringe. The audience understood and even appreciated it. This one hiccup and some wandering props did not prevent my inner theatre nerd and sci-fi geek from squealing with glee at the musical adventures of Captain Kirk and his crew as they faced the threat of Khan!
Jay Coombes as Captain Kirk gave us the flavor of Shatner's version without hit. ting. us. over. the. he-ad. with it. He also proved amazingly spry. The character Spock is expected to be wooden and emotionless, Bob Grove as Spock, managed to give us that but keep us interested. Kevin Albert as Bones provides us with one of the most memorable lines of the show. (One that will not be a big surprise to "Trek" fans, but done in a way they've never seen before.) Albert does a great job of evoking the curmudgeonly character while representing the sole voice of reason. The tiny kitsch dealing director/choreographer/actor Steven Eubank takes on the pectorally-gifted Khan and provides not so much of an impersonation but an evoking of a certain Corinthian leather lover. If you aren't smiling when he is rocking out on stage- well, something is wrong with you. Amy Hurrelbrink appears in multiple roles to represent the females and more of this mini-universe. Hurrelbrink is so often seen about town as a fantastic dancer/choreographer that we forget what a talented singer and comedienne she is, and she's got good pipes too!
Tim Gillespie and Michelle Cotton produced some interesting songs. The lyrics were cute, interesting and loaded with almost as many jokes as the script. I lost some of the words because the music was louder than the un-miked singers. I've been told the Off Center Theatre had the acoustics of a brick- now I know it is true. I could have done with a little less of the meager instrumentation and more of the singing onstage.
Tara Varney and Bryan Colley gave us some good laughs and puns. This same team brought us "Lingerie Shop" and "Jesus Christ: King of Comedy" in previous festivals. Their symbiosis seems to be getting stronger as this show felt tighter than previous work. It still feels like they need a little help in ending a scene and have a tendency to dump exposition on us in double scoops.
There were some creative special effects provided by cast and crew that helped the action onstage and were almost an act unto themselves. (The "transporter" is a riot!) This was all aided by some creative use of lighting provided by Shane Rowse. There are still many more chances to catch this show at this year's Fringe. I have no doubts that the team will work out the kinks and by end of the week this will be a powerhouse show! Khan is a great show and I really look forward to Rodenberry Pie's "next generation".
read the review at KC Stage