By Bradley Laas
We live in a day and age where we are constantly inundated with negative news. Times feel and, quite frankly, are tough. As an active member of society, I feel obliged to be constantly connected to this negativity. I believe that if I am plugged into this seemingly never-ending cycle of terror that I can somehow fix it. Ultimately, however, this is an exhausting mindset.
How did I give myself breaks from the struggles of childhood? I did not constantly face my schoolyard bullies or dealt with the confusion of my parents’ divorce. I escaped through television. More specifically, I would forget my woes by binge-watching reruns of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers every Saturday morning. The world was simple when I watched Power Rangers. If Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Zack, Billy, and Tommy could beat Rita Repulsa every Saturday, then I could be fine.
The Factory Theater’s new original show The Adventures of Spirit Force Five provides similar relief to the adult me as Power Rangers did for the child me. The show follows three cheerleaders: Flora, the captain (Carmen Malina); Gilda, a stress eater (Stephanie Shum); and Layla, the less than intelligent blond (Abby Blankenship) as they are sucked from earth to the mystical world of Lametown. The rest of Spirit Force Five is rounded out with the girls’ half mortal cheerleading coach, Coach K (Kevin Alves) and literal boy scout Garin (Joshua Servantez). This team must use the spirit to defeat Lady Mauran (Elise Marie Davis) and her evil vagina by returning the magic spirit stick back to the spirit tree.
This show has all the potential in the world to be bad. Somehow, though, it manages to be a delightfully hysterical production. New playwright Jill Oliver gave the actors such great lines such as “They’re not visions, they’re vagions” and “K. Bye.” The actors delivered these lines with the serious import needed to produce good, fast-paced comedy. Most impressive about the acting was the comedic timing of the supporting cast, made up of Eric Thomas Roach, Charlie Iring, Tommy Bullington, and Brittney Brown. These four actors made transition scenes entertaining and seemingly relevant, even if the scene was not relevant.
The show is a play with music. The music was packed with interesting melodies as well as funny lyrics. The musical numbers also added to the show and the plot. I am not a huge fan of musicals but I was excited every time a character began a song. The actors seamlessly moved from song to high comedic acting with no noticeable difficulties.
The Adventures of Spirit Force Five is not a cutting edge, gritty look at society. Instead, it is a Saturday morning cartoon for adults. The show gives its audience 65 minutes of laughter, and it distracts one from the hellscape that is everyday life. Sometimes a break is important. I would recommend taking your break with Spirit Force Five.
The Adventures of Spirit Force Five is playing at The Factory Theater right off the Howard L stop through August 11th. Tickets can be found right here.