Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Marathon Theater + Sugary Cereal = A Good Way To Spend a Sunday

Madeleine Bundy as Kapow-i GoGo, Photo credit: Crystal Arnette
I often joke that the perfect run time is 75–90 minutes with no intermission. But as much as I love getting home at a decent hour, I honestly think that a show should be as long as it takes to tell the story well. I also love marathon theater. There's something fulfilling about spending the day with the same audience members, getting to know characters over a long period of time. So I happily sat through four-and-a-half hours of Kapow-i GoGo on Sunday. Based on anime and video games, Kapow-i GoGo is broken down into three parts (each is about 60-75 minutes, so it falls into my perfect run time), each further separated into three episodes. There are three-minute breaks between each episode and fifteen-minute breaks between each part, enough time to grab some free sugary cereal and candy, so you can really feel like a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons.

The saga starts with our blue-haired heroine, Kapow-i GoGo (Madeleine Bundy), at 14 as she heads with her brother, Hiccup (Michael Axelrod), and teacher, Master Masterwhiskies (Hank Lin), to a tournament to determine the World's Greatest Fighter. She even has a kick-ass theme song, written by Brian Hoes. The episodes get darker as she grows into adulthood and continuously has to save the world. She also falls in love, and not to give away too much, but it's refreshing to see a love story between two women treated so naturally.

Although I've played a lot of Super Mario Bros. in my day, I'm not as well-versed in anime and was worried that I wouldn't understand a lot of the references, but it didn't really matter. It helped that my plus one is a Pokémon fan and explained a lot of the inside jokes I missed, but the story by Matt Cox works on its own. As solely a parody, it would probably get old after an hour, but I grew to really care about the characters. A lot of this is in the writing, but also in the multi-layered performances that co-directors Kristin McCarthy Parker and Joel Soren get out of the entire cast.
Karsten Otto and Matt Cox as Mr. Smiles and Mr. Snuggles, better known as Team Trouble
Photo credit: Eleanor Philips
Bundy is both sweet and tough as Kapow-i and believably plays every age. Josh Boerman and Soren's perfect costumes also subtly change as she gets older. It truly is an ensemble piece, but I had particular affinity for Team Trouble, made up of Mr. Smiles (Karsten Otto) and Mr. Snuggles (Cox), often the comic relief, but also surprisingly moving in their friendship. And Evan Maltby broke my heart a few times as Tuxedo Gary, Kapow-i's insecure "rival since they were both babies."

Your next chance to see Kapow-i GoGo is Sunday, June 20th at 1 p.m. at the PIT. Tickets are $30 for the whole marathon and are available here, so go (go).

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