Mutant Squad

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by Wendy Gennaula | 7/31/09 • Mutant Squad, presented by the Young Artists Council of the Youth Performance Company, is a fresh take on the “for teens by teens” category. Nick Clark’s script is original and quirky. The plot has surprising little twists and turns. And the origin story of the Mutant is a hoot. Mutant Squad is a funny, witty comedy that never talks down to its audience.

good to momma is the blog of wendy gennaula, one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet.

The ensemble work is strong. All four members of the Mutant Squad play well off of each other. Axl (the role is double cast; I’m not sure which actor we saw tonight) is the ad hoc leader of the mutant hunters. He wants to be the hero and save the day. The actor does a good job of showing the vulnerability behind the swagger. Winona (Kiana Adams, with excellent comic timing) is the goth girl with the heart of gold. Walter(Koby Feldman) is the funny best friend. The fourth squad member, Po (Kaitlyn Andrews), is a Japanese or Japanese-American 6th grade boy who speaks with a broken English accent.

I did not understand why Po was played by a girl. Yes, the nerdy Japanese boy was a stock 80’s character. Yes, I understand that the intent is to satirize the 80’s, not the Japanese. But the cross-casting and cheesy accent made the execution of that intent murky at best and offensive at worst.

The trio of toughs were just as funny as the mutants.

The costume design adds a lot to the show. I don’t want to spoil the wonderful weirdness of the Mutant costume so I won’t describe it here. The late 80’s/early 90’s period costumes (I feel old!) helped define the characters.

FYI, the show, recommended for ages 10 and up, is loaded with language and innuendo (and a penis joke) that might make some ten-year-olds (and their parents) uncomfortable. The bullies do a lot of crotch grabbing and name-calling. My eleven year old had no problem with it. He laughed throughout the entire show.

By the way, Mutant Squad is playing at the Theatre Garage, which is being sponsored by Play by Play theater book Store and opening night gifts. They have tables set up. Check out the books and gifts and enter the drawing.

Wendy Gennaula is a singer and actress in the Twin Cities. She is the mother of two extraordinary Fringelings.

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