Fringe review: Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe




Some come to Fringe for weighty provocations, and some come to see a great performance. Others come simply for the guilty pleasure of watching actors make fabulous fools of themselves, while listening to William Shatner destroy David Bowie’s Space Oddity. If you’re the latter undiscriminating, deranged individual and have a penchant for bad sci-fi, your mind may just be blown by YES/AND Theatre Company’s Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe.

After the “Earth Itself” is kidnapped by a gang of over-the-top, out-of-this-world interstellar idiots, only Jett Backpack and his equally bumbling yet enthusiastic do-gooders can save the day, or something like that. After all, writer Josh Geoghagan’s plot, though half-baked, matters little when you’re mashing together Star Wars, Star Trek and Flash Gordon, and giving it the campy, low-budget look of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

John Bateman plays the title role, but it’ll likely be Jennifer Guhl (as Captain Clementine Cardigan), David Almeida in delicious drag (as Jett’s mother, Galaxia Randolph) and especially Kevin Sigman (as the Emperor of the End of the Universe) who will beam you up the best. In fact, Sigman rules his Klingoney kingdom so well that not even busty beauty Dorothy Massey (as the Emperor’s daughter, Princess Positronic) can rekindle the energy that’s lost following his ouster from power by the Sinister Dr. Saurian, a “dinosaur scientist” played with reptilian relish but not enough refinement by Stephen Lima.

Amateurish and flat at times – almost in the style of the movies it’s spoofing – Jett is helped along by Kevin Becker’s fast-paced direction, C.J. Smith’s appropriately B-movie props, Massey’s kooky costumes, and a lack of pretension. Jett is far from a must-see, but it may be the closest you’ll get to blastoff at this year’s Fringe without having to take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe

YES/AND Theatre Company (Winter Park, Florida)

Rating: G-14

Warnings: Adult Language, Mild Sexual Subject Matter

Run Time: 60 minutes

Yellow Venue


Genre: Science Fiction/Comedy

Show website: click here

Show Times:

Sat, May 18, 2013, 9:45 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.

Sun, May 19, 2013, 11:15 p.m. – 12:15 a.m.

Tue, May 21, 2013, 7:15 p.m. – 8: 15 p.m.

Thu, May 23, 2013, 5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Fri, May 24, 2013, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Sat, May 25, 2013, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Keep an eye on our ongoing Fringe 2013 coverage here.

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