REVIEW: BALDERDASH ACADEMY’S APHRODITE PRIME AND THE INVADERS FROM VENUS 12

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APHRODITE PRIME AND THE INVADERS FROM VENUS 12

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A very polished, well-rehearsed piece–obviously a group that’s been working together for a while, with clearly defined characters, a very strong voice, and a definite idea of the story they wanted to tell and how they were telling it. There’s something reassuring as an audience member to see an ensemble and know within seconds that everyone on stage knows what they’re doing and how to do it, and the goodwill of that energy (plus some good gags and fun performances) sustained the show as a whole.

That said, this felt a little too safe to me. Which is an odd critique to make of something that is more or less exactly what it intends to be, but there were bits around the edges that had me thinking the team would do more with the format. As is, “live radio drama” is a neat concept, and the outfits and “microphones” sold it quite nicely, but I wanted more acknowledgement of the show-inside-a-show. The best joke of the evening was the repeated ads for “White Lightning,” and while I enjoyed the wry tone of the sci-fi adventure story, it was such a straight putt that it could’ve used more of the unexpected.

The beginning of the piece, where everyone was already in character as their “actor” while setting up the stage, was a great start, and at least two of the performers made a clear effort to keep that energy going throughout, providing a direct contrast between their “actor” and their “character” in ways that made both more interesting. The show could’ve used more of that energy. A good production on the whole–good enough, but with enough clear talent that it left me wishing they’d pushed themselves.

submitted by: Zack Handlen
PortFringe Independent Review Team