Short, but fun, fan fiction sequel
|The Right Brain Project presents|
Review by Lauren Whalen
As someone who isn’t an aficionado of “Doctor Who”, I’m not the target audience for Who Too. Luckily, I’m friends with enough self-professed “Whovians” to know a little bit of the lingo, and the very informative lobby display of The Right Brain Project’s Rorschach space filled me in further. A company of Whovians themselves, members of the RBP have crafted not one, but two tributes to the Time Lord. Who Too is a sequel to 2013’s The Timey-Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza – Geronimo! (our review – ★★★) but thankfully stands alone just fine. At only 45 minutes long, it’s a brief but bright glimpse into the mind of Whovians everywhere.
Two years after RBP’s first Doctor Who show, actor Clint Worthington (playing himself) is still very unsettled. Though the rest of the cast who will neither confirm or deny, Clint believes that the production was interrupted by the Doctor. In Who Too, the RBP allows the traumatized Clint to return to the scene of the crime in the form of…another tribute show. What follows is an adventure involving gender-bending, robot dogs and a very real threat to the people of Chicago. Can Clint (and the individuals he meets inside the famed TARDIS) save the day?
What’s most enjoyable about Who Too is its immersive nature: the audience begins in the makeshift lobby and follows Clint into the TARDIS for the remainder of the show. Thanks to Rush Marler and Noel Spence’s excellent and interesting set design, and director Joseph Ramski’s staging, the audience is able to feel a part of the action sans claustrophobia. Clearly, Ramski both understands and appreciates the nature of immersive theater. Rachel Boylan’s costume design (with leatherwork by cast member Charlesanne Rabensburg) includes fun little details reminiscent of the Doctor that even a neophyte could easily identify. Maxwell Shults’ original sound design is nicely complemented by offstage voice work from JB Anderton and Jennifer Roehm.
Though he gets a bit whiny at times, Worthington is a likable everynerd protagonist, leading the audience through the world with jittery aplomb. Lauren Baker has great moments as green-skinned Drornak, bringing both humor and pathos to the sidekick-turned-hero trope. And as a male and female Doctor, respectively, Tom McGrath and Rabensburg perfectly complement one another with sharp intelligence and rapier wit. (Rabensburg also pulls off a fabulous and flawless Scottish brogue.) David Tennant and company would be proud.
At its core Who Too is fan fiction, but that’s not an insult. This show falls into the category of well-written, well-produced fanfic that delights in sharing its passion and devotion with both its target audience and those just diving in to fandom. With a running time of less than an hour, is Who Too worth the trek to Ravenswood? I would say yes: it’s a compact little journey, comparable to living inside an old-school TV episode – and as “Dr. Who” first premiered in the 1960’s, that’s fitting. Along with great production values that maximize a tiny space, game actors and solid direction, Who Too has a real sense of fun that combines camp and sentimentality. Much like Dr. Who himself – or so I’m told.
Who Too continues through June 21st at RBP Rorschach, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map), with performances Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays 10pm, Sundays 2pm. Tickets are $15-$20 (suggested donation), and can be reserved online through BrownPaperTickets.com. More information at TheRBP.org. (Running time: play 45 minutes, no intermission)
behind the scenes
Joseph Ramski (director), Krista Reeves (stage manager), Rush Marler, Noel Spence (set design), Cody Ryan (lighting design), Maxwell Shults (original music, sound design), Rachel Boylan (costume design), Charlesanne Rabensburg (leather work for the Doctor)