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The Intergalactic Nemesis Trilogy

Salvage Vanguard Theater's repertory revival of all three parts of its popular Intergalactic Nemesis series parodying science fiction radio serials delivers three evenings of gluttonous intergalactic delectation

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Fri., June 16, 2006

Arts Review

The Intergalactic Nemesis Trilogy

Blue Theater, through July 1

Running Time: 2 hrs, 15 min

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

While any unsheltered individual over the age of 3 most likely can tell you the origin of that famous phrase, anyone who's been a fan of Austin theatre over the last 10 years can tell you the origin of this one: By the Archive! Yup, it's been a decade since those crazed aliens at Salvage Vanguard Theater created The Intergalactic Nemesis, and they really did not have – could not have had – any idea how far it would travel. What began as a science fiction radio serial done in live installments at Little City morphed into a trilogy that aired on KUT, obtained representation from a New York booking agent, and will open the UT Performing Arts Center 2006-07 season before embarking on a national tour. In preparation for this undertaking, SVT is reviving the entire trilogy this month, with part one on Thursdays, part two on Fridays, and part three on Saturdays.

For those of you who might not understand the fuss, join the club. I hadn't seen a single episode of the trilogy until I saw the third part, The Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity, and while the word "Trilogy" appears in the title of this review, I must admit I didn't actually see the entire trio. But here's a bet that you can lay down with confidence: The first two are much like the third, in which our host, announcer L.B. Deyo, warms us up by training us to both applaud (wildly, cheeringly, foot-stompingly) and count down to radio silence. That might not sound like much, but consider that Deyo sounds precisely like he stepped right out of an old Philco console, and with his enthusiastic delivery and sonorous style, he encouraged me to have more fun than I've had in a theatre in quite some time.

Of course, having a story to enjoy always helps. While this one, about Nazis bent on creating a master race by grafting alien plasma onto humans, was entertaining enough with its multiple love stories, totally indecipherable yet entertaining scientific lingo, and globe-trotting milieu, what helps even more is having a cast that can carry both the broad melodrama and the multiple characters. Director Jason Neulander is blessed with just such a cast. While Brent Werzner, as earnestly serious, adventuresome archivist Ben Wilcott, and Shannon McCormick, in multiple roles, have memorable moments, Jenny Larson was born to play broad, and she plays exactly that: a thickly-accented German broad as sultry as a sip of schnapps on a frosty winter night. But the show-stealer is Lee Eddy – the queen, the empress, the supreme ruler of broad. Her depiction of Molly Sloan, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, is not just a superb parody, but a believable one. And if you think believable parody sounds somehow simple, then you just don't know how to parse your paradoxes. Add the creatively entertaining Foley sound of Buzz Moran and Hilary Thomas, the orgiastic live organ of Laura Phelan, and commercials improvised by the cast between episodes, and you've got an evening of gluttonous intergalactic delectation.

So, if you consider yourself a connoisseur, or simply just a fan, of Austin theatre, and you haven't seen it, or at least seen part of it – well, by the Archive! What are you waiting for?

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