I love Lifeline Theatre because their plays are always brilliantly staged original adaptations of interesting books including some of my all-time favorites – “Neverwhere”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Busman’s Honeymoon”, “Jane Eyre” and “Monstrous Regiment” among others. This year, Christopher Walsh’s musical adaptation of Austin Grossman’s “Soon I Will Be Invincible” brings superheroes to the Lifeline stage, a summer treat not to be missed. Get your tickets now; I give “Soon I Will Be Invincible” 4 Spotlights.
Lifeline’s set (Alan Donahue) and lighting (Becca Jeffords) designers have done a masterful job with the challenge of staging/set design for some special superheroes who are traversing the known universe. What looks like a wall – and occasionally the cosmos – turns out to be much more. A doorway halfway up reveals the evil Dr. Impossible (Phil Timberlake) in prison; an odd-shaped panel drops down to form a ramp; another panel goes transparent to reveal Dr. Impossible lurking; floor-level doors at each side allow the cast to enter and exit. With the addition of another ‘ramp/table’ on the wall, battles can be fought. Director Paul S. Holmquisrt has his actors using every inch of stage and ramp, plus the stairs in the middle of the audience.
An exhibit in the lobby outlines Costume Designer Aly Renee Amidel’s development of each character’s unique superhero look. All of the Champions have bright, colorful costumes, except for Mr. Mystic (Frederick Harris), who wears a rather boring black suit.
The Champions – legendary CoreFire (Jason Kellerman), heroic Blackwolf (Tommy Malouf), Damsel (Corbette Pasko), who likes to state the obvious, Elphin (Sarah Scanlon), the last fairy left on earth, Rainbow Triumph (Taryn Wood), a former child prodigy/hero and Mr. Mystic who manipulates magic – have locked Dr. Impossible into an ‘escape proof’ prison. By the way, the overpowering music made it difficult to hear the words of the “Prologue”.
Ten years later, CoreFire has vanished and is thought dead. Fatale (Christina Hall), an insecure cyborg, is the newest recruit reporting to the Champions. Since she has little or no self-esteem – after all, she weighs 500 pounds, can’t sit in a chair that’s not specially reinforced, and she can’t find anything to wear. She thinks her new costume, designed especially for her body, is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
After Dr. Impossible escapes from prison, the brilliant and totally evil scientist dons a red and gold costume. He loves to swish his gold cape and make snarky comments. He’s going to build a weapon with which can destroy the world, but he’s going to have to travel around the galaxy gathering a few things he needs first.
As Fatale, who is equipped with super-enhancements, is training with the other Champions, another new recruit joins them. Lily (Justine C. Turner) has a history – she was Dr. Impossible’s accomplice in the past, but she’s been reborn as a cyborg dedicated to good. In an epic battle, the two empowered female cyborgs manage to defeat Dr. Impossible.
“Soon I Will Be Invincible” runs through July 19th at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 4:00 and 8:00; and Sunday at 4:00. Running time is about 2 hours 15 minutes with an intermission. Tickets are $40, $30 for seniors. Free parking is available in Lifeline’s lot on the NE corner of Morse and Ravenswood; with free shuttle service before and after the show. Street parking is also available, but you have to feed the meter (except on Sundays). FYI (773) 761-4477 or www.lifelinetheatre.com.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Soon I Will Be Invincible”