John Aurelius in The Adventures of Jim.
photo-Emily Browne

Sidekicks: A Collection of One Acts

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

The good folks at the Alley Theater love what they do. And with quirky, off beat, pop culture driven work that caters to a non-traditional audience, what’s not to love? In past years, this theater has produced a festival of Inhuman plays and this year the theme has changed to Superhuman, but the spirit remains the same.  In addition to the new full length plays, The Alley Theatre has put together an evening of short plays, cleverly titled Sidekicks which takes advantage of the simple space as well as a cast of clever actors.

Sidekicks displays five pieces as well as a monologue all about super powers, both positive and negative. The strongest aspects of the evening involve clever twists and jokes woven into the typical superhero stereotypes. Whether it was John Aurelius’ villian attempting to compensate for being a poorly skilled or Dan Canon’s portrayal of a man with the ability to literally go invisible for the sake of impressing a blind date, there are moments that feed into the expectation of what being a superhero is all about. And the payoff is delightful.

Certain moments of Sidekicks aren’t as strong. The evening starts with a play involving a clever concept of a man who can predict the future and his attempt to save a little girl from ultimate peril. With such an intriguing plot, the bland staging within the piece provides a less than enthusiastic start to an otherwise upbeat group of plays. Near the end of the evening, a monologue delivered in total darkness was a brave choice. Although the actress mentions waiting in the evening, I was unsure why we were listening in the dark.

The evening of short plays finishes nicely with a piece about a superhero named “Mildly Depressed Man.” And I couldn’t help but giggle throughout this entire piece. Cleverly parodying classic outlandish superheroes and villians as well as those who often typically read comic books, this short play only gives an episode of this superhero’s life but leaves a lasting impression.

In addition to crafting a night of short plays that show the many facets of being a superhuman, Sidekicks displays pride in what it means to be different and how awesome it is. And isn’t that what the Alley Theater is really all about?

Sidekicks: A Collection of One Acts

The 5564 to Toronto By Karen Howes
Directed by Scott Davis

Gavin – Scott Davis
Molly – Kara Davis

Close Encounter by Robin Pond
Directed by Kimby Peterson

Jack – Kenn Parks
Jill – Rachel Caudel / Katie Dearmond

Invisible Man by Mark Cornell
Directed by Valerie Canon

Dave – Dan Canon
Rachel – Jennifer Starr
Waiter – Jake Minton
Old Blind Man – Felicia Stewart

Growing Feathers by Eva Moon
Directed by Sterling Pratt

Corrine – Valerie Canon

The Adventures of Jim by Nate Devoll
Directed by Daniel Smith

Jim – Dan Canon
Arachnia – Ashley Anderson
Lord Gestalt – John Aurelius

The Adventures of Mildly Depressed Man by Jack Helberg
Directed by Kenn Parks

Announcer – John Aurelius
Sewer Rat / Passive Aggressive Girl – Kimby Peterson
Pie Face / Chief O’Meara – Felicia Stewart
Mildly Depressed Man – Micheal Harris
Commisioner Jordan – Rachel Caudel / Chelsea Skalski
The Miasma – Valerie Canon

Part of Superhuman:A Festival of New American Superhero Theater

April 3-11, 2014

The Alley Theater
633 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202