A review by Bill Garry.
Comic Con may be over in San Diego, but Cosplay lives on in Hollywood at the Berubian Theatre Company's production of "Wonder Women," now playing in open-ended repertory at the Next Theater.
It seems that the Equalizer, the leader of the superhero league, is having troubles because the women are abandoning the group. Is it self-centered, chauvinistic Mr. Miraculous (a square-jawed Steve Connors) who is the problem? Is it the rule that states that superheroes can't fall in love with supervillains? (There's a lot of that going around.) Is it that supervillain Evilynn (a hilarious Shawn Randolph in pink fright wig) needs a challenge? Or could it be that poor Equalizer is tired of the superhero grind and wants to just be known as Walter?
The show is 90 minutes of improv, power posing, fast entrances and exits, and all sorts of fun. Multiple stories are intertwined in blackout scenes and performed by a rotating cast in colorful, outrageous, and, in the ladies' cases, very tight superhero costumes.
As for the actors, they are all up-and-coming actors with numerous tv and theatre credits. Stand-outs at the performance I attended were Amy Shi, providing both pathos and laughs in two roles: the love-lorn Nightshade and dopey sidekick Ultra Girl; Julifer Day as Ultra Woman, who believably deals with the above-mentioned dopey sidekick and the conflicted Evilynn; Mark Labella, adding heart as the innocent victim of a superhero arrest gone awry; Kaleigh Weston as the more vulnerable than invulnerable Superwoman; and Alex Tyson, who, as Pot Girl and Assasin, pivots from frumpy superwife to acrobatic heroine.
Rounding out the fast-thinking, fast-changing cast is Trixx Ian Vitolo as Vittilio and Hobson and Priscila Zortea as a supervillainess who gets friendly with Ultra Girl.
Chris Berube writes, directs, and adds real gravitas performing as Equalizer. When I spoke to him afterward, he told me that each performance is different as not every actor -- or role -- repeats. If so, I am impressed as the performance I attended went off with well-plotted chaos.
This show will be appreciated most by fans of cosplay and a good time. There is a liquor store downstairs and the show's announcer (also Mr. Berube) recommends a beer run before the show, "as long as you just clean up after yourselves."
My only criticism? Some of the funniest lines were ad-libbed under the breath of characters like Equalizer, Vittilio, and Hobson. They deserve to be "frozen" into the script and said out loud!
Wonder Women runs in open-ended repertory at The Next Theatre Company, 1523 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028.