I've just gotten home from seeing The Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza (Geronimo!) by McKenzie Gerber and Justin Gerber (they have bios on the page). The Right Brain Project produced the show. It has musical elements.
I had no idea what to expect. The Chicago Nerd Social Club had a post for it on their event calendar, which showed up on my RSS feed. Most things Doctor Who related tend to have an element of fun, so I said to Michi, "Let's go!" She said sure, so we did.
The play gets produced in a very small, 30-seat theater on the fourth floor of a loft space at 4001 N Ravenswood. You can practically hop, skip and jump from the Irving Park Brown Line stop.
We made reservations to take advantage of the $15 per person ticket (NOTE: first five patrons that come in costume get in for free). On a Sunday afternoon show at 3 PM, reservations may not prove necessary to guarantee you a seat. Then again, who knows? With enough buzz, a seat might be harder to get. The show has run four weeks so far and only has a couple more.
We had fun at the hour-long show. Michi called it cute and charming, which I think is apt.
Such a small theater group obviously doesn't have a huge budget, but the special effects were probably on par with Classic Who. They portrayed the Doctor much like a Classic Doctor, too, with much more arrogance and know-it-allism than we have become familiar with through the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Both Michi and I wondered if the actor had channeled Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor a little.
It didn't present anything groundbreaking. However, some of the plot twists and tricks could prove worthy of the show. Using the word canon in relation to the play doesn't do justice to anything (does it ever in the fifty year history of Doctor Who?).
Someone with the barest familiarity with Doctor Who will do fine watching the play and have fun. On the other hand, the loyalist fan with a sense of humor will enjoy the in jokes. Anyone who takes themselves too seriously really has no business going.
The program probably says it best: "THE TIMEY WIMEY FANTASTIC BRILLIANT EXTRAVANGANZA (GERONIMO!) is a parody and does not seek to profit from the creators and producers of DOCTOR WHO." It's a parody, not a satire, not a tragedy, not an epic, not a drama. They execute the parody well.
I would be remiss not mention that the performers did a good job performing, from acting to singing. The stage crew also did a great job of making themselves visible without disrupting the drama and taking you out of the show.
At times I thought the actor playing the Doctor and the actress playing the most capable bystander would have done good in an actual episode on BBC or PBS. The production had its fill of romping and ridiculous stakes, much like the fun parts in the show. These two, though, manifested the occasional welling of palpable emotion that comes through during the best parts of the show.
I have a hard time rating the show as an absolutely can't miss. Life will continue as is, either which way. I'll always encourage people to support local business and arts, but I feel like bringing that up in a review is a little patronizing.
The play makes for a fun time and worth the price of the ticket (especially if you e-mail ahead and make your reservation for lower cost). If you're looking for a dose of The Doctor and/or some comedy, it stands up pretty good against the actual show and other comedy you'll find around Chicago. If you go, you'll have a fun time.
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