Saturday, March 17, 2007

Men of Steel

Vampire Cowboy Theater Company isn't about being glamorous or being profound: it's about kicking ass. Their new show, Men of Steel, takes the same approach as Heroes for the first three chapters, using a comic book format of narration (complete with video montages during scene changes), and over-the-top acting to go with over-the-top action. The first segments are uneven, especially the opening fight, but charismatic performances help, like Paco Tolson's super villain, "The Mole." There's also a great stop-motion-animated Lego battle that spoofs the genre, and plenty of in-jokes about the nature of superheroes and vigilantes. The only problem is that Men of Steel's themes have recently been addressed by the comic universes, which threatens to leave this show an entertaining parody alone. Scene 3 the surprise: the tale of an invulnerable retarded man who lets people pay him to beat him up is tragic and elevates the show for a brief moment. And speaking of elevation: the superhero melee in Act 2 has some real chops: not as impressive as Big Time Theater's The Jaded Assassin, but fun all the same.

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