Review by Devan Marr
Comic Book Comedy | 50 Minutes
The best way to describe Strips is promising, but rough. The show is something for comic book lovers. Set up as a boy giving a presentation, the piece flips between his narration and a live action comic book. The plot is fairly straight forward. Our hero Jack the Jump must thwart the nefarious plans of his nemesis Dr. Doe while keeping his identity a secret from his girlfriend. The Doctor has an evil plan, and Jack has to stop it. Of course, there’s a surprise twist at the end. Pretty classic super hero stuff. Fun, over the top, with the occasional genuine laugh.
Unfortunately that’s about the extent of the positive aspects of this review. As a disclaimer, I have no training in theatre so this is just my opinion, but Strips is rough. Really rough. The script, while genuinely funny at some points, felt like it was trying too hard to be clever. A particular moment was when one of Dr. Doe’s henchmen was trying to explain why certain aspects of his diabolical machine were not operating as they should. One cringe worthy monologue later, we get it, you’re talking about sex.
Similarly, the scene transitions came off as disorganized because the stage and house lights never totally dimmed so you would see the scene end and the actors simply saunter off stage. While I chalk this next issue to opening night jitters, there was a lot of accidental kicking of props that had been left on stage and generally the set just felt disorganized. There were so many major scene changes that it was difficult to stay immersed in the show. On a final note about the scene changes, despite being well in the back of the theatre, we could hear the offstage actors whispering in the wings attempting to sort out what was happening next. Again, probably opening night jitters, but it was distracting.
Of course the show isn’t all bad. As I said, there was some genuinely funny jokes and some clever moments. Dr. Doe’s explanation of his intricate plan was worth a laugh or two. The actors themselves are committed to the piece and bring that energy to the stage. Unfortunately, I feel like the script was trying to convey some of the over the top moments you read in comic books but it just wasn’t coming across well. I’m sure with a bit more work-shopping Strips could be a really fun and enjoyable show. Until then, it needs some serious work.
Strips Ep. 6: Skipping Origins, is playing at Venue 3- Academic Hall. The next show times are, Saturday, June 21, at 15:00, Monday, June 23, at 20:30, Tuesday, June 24, at 18:30, Thursday, June 26, at 22:30, and Saturday June 28, at 17:30.