Seattle comedy duo Charles (Chuck Armstrong and Charlie Stockman) present an imaginative, original and witty comedy, using physical theatre, sharp word play, and absurdism to launch Moby Dick into space, because, well, why not? Using the bones of Melville's story, the pair journey through culture and humanity past, present and future.
Armstrong and Stockman give terrific and energetic comedy performances, as they convincingly jump from one character to the next with ease and finesse.
The audience follows Captain Ahab's all-compassing and reckless quest in a way that is wry, inventive and just a little silly. Melville's characters are transported across the galaxy with a mission to harvest energy clouds, where they are side-tracked by Ahab's mad obsession with a great white energy cloud that previously maimed him. Alongside Ahab, Queequeg and Ishmael get to muse on friendship, existentialism and organic cannibalism as they also find time to enjoy a classic road trip.
Creatively minimalist lighting comes solely from the pair's space helmets, which change colour according to character and context. The luminous spot on a stage that is otherwise empty darkness contributes to an eerie, otherworldly mise-en-scene that fits the tumble through space and time. Armstrong and Stockman give terrific and energetic comedy performances, as they convincingly jump from one character to the next with ease and finesse. The clever and well-choreographed use of vocal sound effects are delivered with gusto and are surprisingly effective, becoming more than lo-fi silliness.
The show manages to move through reams of science fiction, classic literature, culture and Mad Men, delivering quick and very funny puns and wordplay as they travel through space, time, character and genre. There may not be great density of character, but the show spins out enough dynamism and tension for the audience to be carried along all the way to its wholly satisfactory and rather sweet ending. Moby Alpha is proffered as entertainment for nerds, but it reaches out beyond its orbit, impressing this non-sci-fi savvy reviewer and making for a show that is slick, witty and delightful.