Reviews: interlace [falling star],The Nexus Project

Campy sci-fi (almost) and a dozen shorts for charity.

  interlace [falling star]Annex Theatre, 1100 E. Pike St., 800-838-3006, www.annextheatre.org. $5–$12. 8 p.m. Fri.–Sat. Ends Aug. 30.Interlace [falling star] is brimming with potential. It starts off strong: A woman wakes up with no memory in the lobby of an infinitely tall building in the center of the multiverse. As she attempts to figure out who she is and what she's doing there, catastrophe strikes and she meets a motley crew of folks from the United Association of Interdimensionary Travelers. The problem with interlace is that once the plot gets going, nothing feels imaginative enough. Sure, there are superheroes, archangels, and even a cute scrappy robot, but they soon devolve into a cast of clichés who are never as interesting as they should be. Surprising, considering writer/director Scotto Moore has wowed us in the past with, among other things, the highly entertaining and somewhat hilarious Angel parody, Cherub—The Vampire With Bunny Slippers.A number of religious and metaphysical themes are approached, but none of them truly shine, and the whole production never manages to make much of a point. The play's anticlimax feels overly pretentious without a final payoff to back up the big ideas. Interlace has its sharp moments, particularly the performance of Chris Bell, who manages to make all four of his characters, including Jesus, funny. Perhaps if all the characters were as over-the-top, the play would be funny as a throwback to campy sci-fi. Instead, interlace is inconsistent and often trite, a perfect example of how having all the right elements doesn't guarantee success. It's got a solid cast, a talented writer/director, and a clever setting, but hitting gold is never a sure thing. NANCY SMITHThe Nexus ProjectRichard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 322-7030, www.nextstage.org. $10–$15. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. & Sun., 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat. Ends Sept. 7.For an evening of locally produced organic theater, Next Stage asked 12 Seattle playwrights to create 10-minute plays inspired by charitable organizations. The playwrights donated their work, enabling Next Stage to contribute the equivalent of a royalty fee to one of those organizations. The winning charity will be chosen in a manner appropriate to the era of reality TV: you vote. Of course, you're not really going to vote for the charity, since by each play's end you've likely forgotten which one served as its inspiration. How, for example, Paul Mullin's cryptic Triptych, a wordy philosophical debate on faith in higher power, found a muse in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra escapes me. The winning charity, then, is really the winning play, and several stand out. One Rainy Night, Scot Augustson's bizarre tale of a hitchhiker in a prom dress, is absurdly hilarious, while Doing Time, Lenore Bensinger's twisting story of journalistic ethics, is the most intellectually stimulating. Marc Kenison's Waxie Moon: Boylesque Cinematique deserves points for both entertainment and originality; in 12 plays he's the only stripper. Not all the pieces are quite as successful. Stephanie Timm's Heavens to Betsy starts strong but loses its momentum and drags at the end. And S.P. Miskowski's w/original features shows promise, but its logical leaps are difficult to look past. Though The Nexus Project falls short of a perfect evening of theater, the occasional flawed moments are worth sitting through for the more frequent inspired ones. BRENT ARONOWITZ

 
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