Thursday, May 21, 2015

reviews - PUPPET WARS: A FEW HOPE - All Puppet Players

Han Solo and Chewbacca
(photo: All Puppet Players)
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

"...Puppet Wars: A Few Hope.. a loving homage to the classic film, reenacting many of the movie's classic scenes with added hilarious comments on some of the film's more ludicrous moments. While not everything works...there are many things that do, and the end result is an upbeat comedy that makes for silly fun for fans of the Star Wars films....includes plenty of actual dialogue from the film, which Star Wars geeks will love, but adds in almost an equal amount of wisecracking commentary and jokes derived from other sources. ...(Shaun Michael) McNamara's script makes fun of Luke's continual high-pitched complaints, Vader's somewhat undecipherable voice, and the fact that Chewbacca doesn't speak in the film. He also sets everyone straight on the correct pronunciation of "falcon" in relation to the name of Han's ship, the Millennium Falcon, and includes some jokes about the voice of the computer "Hal" from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as "Siri," the Apple voice-activated assistant. While there are plenty of humorous moments in the show, only about half stick. Hopefully, McNamara is tweaking things as the show continues its three week run in order to remove some of the jokes that don't land and to try out others that hopefully will....The cast is quite good. Jared Horton, Zach Funk, and Adam Bullock provide fairly accurate depictions of Luke, Han, and Obi-Wan, respectively,...Anna Katen has the appropriate amount of feistiness as Princess Leia, and McNamara plays several parts, including Chewbacca, with zest....while Tanner J. Stuff and David Chorley are fine in their portrayals of Vader and C-3PO, respectively, unfortunately, neither one is really given much to do in the show, including many of the lines and bits that aren't that funny. And I can't leave out the phenomenal performance of R2-D2, here played by a garbage can. McNamara's direction is loose, which adds to the fun nature of the show and allows some room for the actors to ad-lib and mingle with the audience. ...while the set design may be lacking, the climactic battle scene does feature several fairly elaborate and large-scale spaceship models, and McNamara's staging of the fight is not only a visual showstopper but also a funny one as well....While Puppet Wars: A Few Hope isn't a completely successful theatrical event, it does feature some inspired ideas and comical commentary. With several laugh out loud moments as well as a spirited take on the final battle, if you're a fan of the Star Wars films, you'll find much to laugh at in this production." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)


"..."Puppet Wars: Episode IV: A Few Hope,"...is the first foray into family-friendly entertainment by Shaun Michael McNamara and his All Puppet Players. Just be warned that...McNamara's definition of family-friendly might not pass muster with every parent....hews closely to the original, including a fair amount of verbatim dialogue, but with as many punch lines and sight gags thrown in as could possibly fit....most of the familiar characters come with some sort of twist, whether it's a talking Chewbacca... or Han Solo's shootout with a bounty hunter named not Greedo but Guido ...The best moments in "Puppet Wars" involve the hilariously ingenious props and set pieces that come along with a shoestring budget. Need a Muppet-size lightsaber? Glow sticks cost just a few bucks. ..."Puppet Wars" may be merciless in skewering its subject, but it's still a labor of love." -Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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