The Timey Wimey Fantastic
A ‘Doctor Who’ celebration to regenerate for
|The Right Brain Project presents|
|The Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant
Review by Keith Glab
You enter The Right Brain Project’s tiny theatre space and see a set apparently designed by a fifth grader. 2D cardboard cutouts of a Dalek, Big Ben, and a London Underground sign with a backwards ‘e’ distract from a ramshackle, asymmetrical police box meant to be a time machine called the TARDIS tucked away in the corner. Three actors with shoddy British accents then begin some unbearably amateur song-and-dance numbers paying tribute to “Doctor Who”, the 50-year-old British science fiction series about a mysterious Time Lord who battles injustice and offers people jelly babies. One of these actors is wearing a Weeping Angel costume that more closely resembles a crumpled up ball of tin foil. You begin to wonder what exactly you’ve gotten yourself into.
Enter The Doctor (Tom McGrath), a thousand-year-old time traveler who interrupts this shoddy production of The Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza (Geronimo!) because his TARDIS detects activity from the evil Nestene consciousness. This Doctor is the real McCoy, or rather a hybrid of Matt Smith and David Tennant, the two most recent actors to portray the intrepid Time Lord on television.
The Doctor, the cast of the tribute show, and the audience become entangled in a scheme by some of the Doctor’s oldest enemies to remove the Time Lord from existence. The plot doesn’t always make perfect sense, but there are some who would say that accepting the occasional plot hole is part of being a “Doctor Who” fan. Plus, the cast usually gives the audience a bit of a nod and a wink when they know they’re asking for a bit of a logical leap.
The production values of the actual show are much, much better than the show within the show. I’ll leave the identity of the main monsters a surprise (spoilers!), but will mention that they are very well-realized and a throwback to how they looked in the classic series. A fully functional K-9, The Doctor’s robot dog, makes a cameo appearance and is superbly voiced by JB Anderton. One iconic object is so authentic that many fans will squeal with glee upon seeing it.
The cast is strong as well, from McGrath’s influenced – yet unique – portrayal of The Doctor to those in the cast who have the ironically difficult task of successfully portraying bad actors onstage. “Doctor Who” acting requires a certain amount of campiness that is executed well here most of the time.
The Gerber brothers successfully made their script accessible and enjoyable to patrons of all ages and with any familiarity with the television series. Supreme “Doctor Who” geeks such as yours truly might lament the absence of inside jokes and obscure references that could have been thrown in without harming the show’s digestibility. The one such inside joke they do make involves K-9 and highlights the show.
Nitpicking aside, The Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza (Geronimo!) is surprising, campy, fun, and interactive. In short, it has all of the necessary elements for a fitting “Doctor Who” celebration on this 50th anniversary year of the greatest science fiction series ever.
The Timey Wimey Extravaganza continues through June 23rd at RBP Rorschach, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map), with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30pm, Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $10-$15, and can be reserved by phone (773-750-2033) or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at TheRBP.org. (Running time: 50 minutes, no intermission)
Photos by Joseph Ramski
behind the scenes
Emma Peterson (director), Nathan Robbel (production manager, artistic director), Trevor Watkin (composer), Roxie Kooi (stage manager), Chrystle Morman (costumes), Krista Reeves (asst. costumes), Rush Marler (set design), Michael C. Smith (lighting), JB Anderton (sound design), Kendra Kargenian (dialect coach), Joseph Ramski (photos, asst. set design)