It’s the classic comic book setup: superhero Jack the Jump must stop the nefarious scheme of his nemesis, Dr. Doe. Will good prevail over evil?
Should you see it?
At the start of Strips, I was hoping for some 1966-era campiness, Adam West Batman style. Unfortunately, Strips is not zany enough to be an homage and not biting enough to be a parody. All the elements are there; the damsel in distress, the psychic with a grudge, the mad scientist, the sultry evil sidekick and the all brawn, barely any brains hero, but it feels like Strips lacks a creative edge.
The lackluster character names are explained by a framing device about a boy giving a school presentation about his comic but it came off as an excuse for lazy writing. The boy himself also felt like an unnecessary character – I would have been happy with an over-the-top comic book narrator.
Strips’ comedic timing felt off. I would put this down to first show jitters, since all of the actors spoke too quickly and rushed the jokes. This is also a rare instance where I feel cartoonish, broad acting would have been appropriate. Katie Volkert plays up her damsel in distress role, while Hilary Peck stands out as Dr. Doe’s main squeeze, a Russian shapeshifter. Kyle Cunningham’s Jack the Jump could use more macho bravado and while Will LaFrance has the evil laugh down, he doesn’t act very villainous besides.
Strips ends just as it gets interesting, without much resolution at all. Pre-recorded comic book style asides are brilliant, although the sound seemed to come in just a moment too late. Strips has a lovely, whimsical set and nice costuming – gold tights were a great choice. Strips is an ambitious attempt, but needs to figure out exactly what it wants to be.
What did you think of Strips Ep. 6: Skipping Origins? Do you disagree with me about the comedic timing? Let me know in the comments below!
For more information on Strips Ep. 6: Skipping Origins, including show times and how to buy advance tickets, visit their show page on OttawaFringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/strips-ep-6-skipping-origins/