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Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy’ by Tobias Franzén

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FOUR STARS
The goal of Live Action Theater (LAT) is to “elevate the art of and practice of theatrical staged violence to the highest performance standards,” and there was plenty of stage violence in their production of The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy by co-founder, Kyle Encinas. Comedy was a crucial element as well in this production, as one can expect from a spoof of the spy film genre. The show fully embraces the quirks of the genre, never once looking back as it takes advantage of what the audience expects.

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From the very moment house opens, with pumping techno and dance beats getting everyone to their seats, to the curtain call, LAT comes through on its promise to create theater that “injects high-octane action directly into the audience experience. The plot kicks off with the titular character (Craig Lawrence) making sexual innuendo after innuendo (the first joke clocked in at just under 20 seconds) preparing the audience for hilarity infused physical performances. As John Blade goes undercover to stop the evil Doctor Professor Tantamount’s (Carl Brandt Long) dastardly Weather Machine, things go awry, and an unsuspecting henchman (Christian Sullivan) must take the reins to save the world. Or must he? The overarching theme of the play is destiny, and what it means to choose your own path, even if one has been laid right in front of you.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, I highly recommend this show. Throughout the plot, fight scenes occur almost at random, as if just to allow the actors to have fun on stage. There are gangs of henchman and ninjas that fight with a variety of weapons, from pistols to katanas, shuriken, nunchucks, poison darts and more. I think the most impressive element of this production was the diversity in fighting styles, as well as the numerous multiple person fights. At one point in the show I counted 8 actors fighting on stage all at the same time. Something else to look out for: The fight/dance choreography that was as impressive as it was fun to look at. I just wish it had been a little bit longer.

However, the productions one set back is that it seemed to be more about the precision of the comedy rather than the combat. Each actors’ comedic timing was close to perfect, but some of the fights seemed stilted, and they didn’t sell as well as I think they could have. On the other hand, the comedy was so on, that having combat in the show was just icing on the cake.

Running Time: 55 minutes.

The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy, plays July 13 to 27, 2013 at Warehouse – 645 New York Ave NW in Washington, DC. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their Capital Fringe Page.

LINK
2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy’ by Amie Root.

 

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