Who's That Doctor? | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Who's That Doctor?


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Who's That Doctor?, Hi-Volt Theatre Company, at Stage Left Theatre. Half-assed production values, story lines, and special effects are so central to BBC sci-fi that a parody of such programs does bloody well to play the fool at every turn. This send-up of cult favorite Dr. Who, staged by Harry Bauer, has the buffoonery down, from anthropomorphic space monsters to fashion-victim villainwear to dawdling teleplay; best is disaffected stagehand Mr. Bottles, stomping on- and offstage midscene to change backdrops or reorient robotic sidekick K9. Some of the sketchiness is unaffected--two brand-new episodes go up every weekend--and the whole approach is intentionally loose and unpretentious. But while often amusing, the installment I saw was generally too distant from its targets to develop a comic groove, making the interruptions most of the entertainment.

An episode starring more recognizable baddies, like Daleks or Cybermen, might be more fun--and both are scheduled for later appearances. (This one's endearingly lame giant bugs, despite a commanding performance by Alexander Monical, didn't pack much punch.) But some portrayals were exceptional: Sean Sinitski's Doctor, handsomely costumed in scarf and curls a la fourth doctor Tom Baker (the Sean Connery of the franchise), gave a clever, measured performance that also recalled little-known seventh doctor Sylvester McCoy, and Karyn Morris was fine as "assistant" Vickie-Jane. Eric Roach, the standout as Bottles, also made a showstopping appearance as downbeat fifth doctor Peter Davison. But the rest--particularly Chris Mathews's approximate Master--offered more likable silliness than focused mockery.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Harry Bauer.

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