Space Rock | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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SPACE ROCK, Emerald City Theatre Company, at the Apollo Theater. Besides several winning performances, the best part of this hour-long sci-fi adventure is the rollicking retro score by Alyn Cardarelli and Steve Goers. Reveling in doo-wop pep, 60s funk, or disco fever, the songs cleverly comment on the rather predictable plot: a beleaguered band saves the universe by rescuing the supervaluable Space Rock from Mystere, who's infested a barren planet, Terra Doom, with her yelping mongrel horde. A former thief named Ferret uses her larcenous training to anticipate Mystere's mischief and settle this "level four emergency" (level one involves parking problems). By the end, Ferret has survived the "Crevice of Great Pain," and the audience votes her a full-fledged member of earth's elite interstellar strike force. (She's also learned the secret of cognitive transmogrification, which sounds so much more interesting than it is.)

Director Dado lavishes amusing quirks on her eight eager actors. Elisa Carlson as Ferret evolves from hard-boiled girl with an attitude to a heroine amazed at her own resources. As Mystere, Stacy Magerkurth rouses the wrath of the kids in the crowd by declaring that she intends to cancel all summer vacations and require that all birthday presents go to her. Kevin Douglas's funky android Simon will doubtless be duplicated on playgrounds all over town, and costume designer Allison Greaves's loud 24th-century space garb will surely reappear in some toddlers' fervent dreams.

--Lawrence Bommer

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