Spaced out

Star Crossed Lovers

Written and directed by Charles Battersby
Presented by The Splinter Group
Midtown International Theatre Festival
Raw Space Theatre L
529 W. 42nd St. (279-4200/
Non-union production (closes July 27)
Review by Elias Stimac

Whether you're a Trekkie or a Star Warrior, a Trekker or a follower of the Force, you will probably get a (laser) blast out of Star Crossed Lovers, an irreverent look at futuristic fantasy films and their fanatical fans. From the opening scene, in which a disparate group of moviegoers battle it out for the front spot in line, viewers know they are in for some intergalactic fun.

Charles Battersby wrote and directed this "tale of forbidden nerd love," which in reality is a series of sketches loosely tied to the sci-fi theme. The romance that develops between Star Wars manly man Han Solo (Johnny Blaze Leavitt) and shapely Star Trek shipmate Uhura (Bobbie Owens) is looked down upon by their fellow space-saga enthusiasts, so they have to keep it a secret.

In addition to the two main sources of inspiration, the playwright also skewers film favorites such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. But fantasy movies aren't the only targets on the bill. Diverse topics such as marriage, musicals, and organized religion get skewered throughout the course of the show, with some hilarious results.

The staging by Battersby was a bit rough around the edges, but endearingly effective considering the eclectic material and free-for-all tone of the evening. There were lots of bloopers on the night reviewed, but they just added to the laughter.

Battersby's motley crew of players also included a short female Darth Vader (Joy Masters), a no-nonsense Kirk/Worf (Joshua Polenberg), and a gregarious Uncle Woody (Howell Mayer). The star of the evening was diminutive Danielle Montezinos, who consistently amused with her kick-ass characterization of feisty Princess Leia. Her enthusiasm and commitment to each role she tackled was impressive, and hinted at her potential for stage and screen success.

For this type of improv comedy revue, very little tech is required. Stacy Lynn Conner gets kudos for her sight and sound operation, while the costumes -- provided by Tony Bianchi & Halloween Adventure -- will make you want to run out and rent the videotapes for these shows.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2002 Elias Stimac