Robot Teammate & the Accidental Party
Reviewed by Vanessa Cate
Sacred Fools Theater
Through June 22
Musical improv comedy troupe Robot Teammate & the Accidental Party returns to the Hollywood Fringe Festival for their third year after Timeheart and Thug Tunnel, the latter being my personal pick of the Fringe and favorite musical for 2016.
In Turbulence! the year is 4242, and a ragtag team of misfits must band together to win the Intergalympics: a space race around the Sun against the smarmy Martians. The last-minute replacements — which comprise the crew of the spaceship made of tuna cans (the S.S. Albacore) — each embody a familiar sci-fi trope. Captain Davin Galaxy (Miles Crosman, who is credited with book and lyrics along with other members of the troupe) is a cocky, ambitious and grossly-unqualified space captain; Dr. Joules Johnson (Kat Primeau, who also provides the solid choreography) is the smart science-y type who uses “the juice” to help her think; Mick Cribbins (Chris Bramante) fills the role of balls-to-the-wall, reckless Southern mechanic; Pattern MaGerk (director Molly Dworsky) is an apathetic pilot; and Mambo 4 (Dave Reynolds) rounds out the crew as an android yearning to understand human emotion.
The heart of the show (its first incarnation was an improvisational performance), is the music: polished, catchy, and consistently funny. Lamentably, the sound levels in the theater made it impossible at times to understand the words lyrics. Nevertheless, as the race began the momentum picked up, reaching an emotional pitch during a haltingly beautiful “Power’s Low,” which showcases some impressive musicality and emotion. Kudos to music composer/director Sam Johnides.
The show ends with a Star Trek: The Next Generation-esque scientific deus ex machina that culminates in a song so triumphantly Millennial that I feel I should be able to buy the soundtrack at Urban Outfitters.
Sacred Fools Theater, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood; http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4557 Running time: 55 minutes