Monday, April 6, 2015

Review of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was based on the novel by Jules Verne and adapted by Clint Sheffer and Ann Sonneville. It was directed by Mike Mroch. It was about a scientist named Professor Arronax (Mike Steele), a scientist's apprentice called Conseil (Walls Trimble), and an adventurer named Ned Land (Lee Russell) who were all taken aboard a submarine and no one had really heard of or seen a submarine and they were told by Captain Nemo (Kathrynne Wolf) that they had to stay on there forever, but they wanted to go back up to the world that is not under the sea. They all tried to find a way to get out, but with man-eating monkeys and giant squids they didn't really know how to escape. I found that that made a very good story and I really liked it.

When you walk in, there are a bunch of people talking at a bar. And there are people playing music, including the distraught bartender (Emilie Modaff), but then you don't really know what's going on. I thought, I didn't remember the part of the story where everyone is having a good time in a bar! Then it just breaks out into a bar fight (violence design by R&D Choreography) which is pretty cool because it is a really small space and that means you are very close to all of the action. But then the scene also had some very strange music, and it was so catchy but the thing is it was a bunch of bad seafood puns put into one song. So, I didn't really like the use of the ensemble (Brad Brubaker, Scott Cupper, Modaff, Erin O'Brien, Austin Oie, Alexis Randolph, Skyler Schrempp, and Kelsey Shipley) in the context of the singing in the bar scene, but I did like the fighting. One of the things that I really liked about the ensemble was how they made sea monsters with their bodies and Captain Nemo and her crew would fight them. Another thing that I liked was how the ensemble played these man-eating monkeys!

Ned Land, Professor Arronax, and Conseil were all very strong in their parts. You saw their characters develop a lot throughout the show. Ned Land developed from being an angry man who got into a lot of fights to being a man who could understand problems and how to fix them instead of just getting mad. Professor Arronax goes from being a very uptight and kind of awkward man to being an adventurous kind of man. And Conseil learned how to notice that even if it is a big adventure, something could still go wrong. One of my favorite parts was when they were all being tracked by the man-eating monkeys, and I really liked their faces when they saw the man-eating monkeys, and I loved how they reacted. They looked so frightened, but they didn't make it too cheesy, but it was still very funny. Another one of the parts I liked was when they were getting their dinner, and they were eating all the delicious stuff on their plate. They were very slow and cautious at first, and then they just started digging in and eating and eating. I think it was probably sushi because they were getting their food from down under the sea and because sushi is one of the best foods ever. It looked like they were eating fish roe, and I love fish roe sushi like masago!

Captain Nemo is a guy usually but this time it is a girl and I thought that was super awesome because usually in books the powerful captain is a man. I also liked how they implied gay marriage and didn't just change wife to husband. I think that was very awesome and I was super happy. They are many powerful women in this show because Captain Nemo employs women to go under the sea and sometimes they die in combat with sea monsters and they fight for science when they explore with Professor Arronax. I think that Wolf's performance was great because she didn't make Captain Nemo too weird so that you didn't understand her and didn't feel sorry for her. You see that she seems to have a very hard life and she wanted to get away from it. I wish that you could know what captain Nemo's problem actually was, but that's not their fault. That is the original writer of the book's fault.

People who would like this show are people who like sea monsters, submarines, scientists, and sushi. I think people should go see this show. It closes tomorrow, so go see it because it is a really fun show!

Photos: TCMcG Photography

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