; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Kosmic Mambo at Studio 58

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Kosmic Mambo at Studio 58

Kosmic Mambo is a hypnotizing, time-traveling, space race fantasia with a sense of humour.

The story adapts The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Coleridge poem, into a compelling story of a dangerous journey, a shipwreck, and a condemned captain, whose spirit is forced to wander the Earth telling the cautionary tale of his wrathful actions, death, and damnation.

Cosmonauts + scientists, photo by David Cooper

The Coleridge poem from 1798 is remixed into a sci-fi story set during the end of the U.S./Soviet Union space race in the late 1960's. It tells a fictitious story of the USSR's failed attempt to send six cosmonauts to Mars in response to America's successful moon landing.

In honour of the real space race, the play debuted October 4, the anniversary of the launching of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik in 1957.

This play is the latest in a series of physical theatre pieces that started 25 years ago at Studio 58. Physical theatre means that the story is told—for the most part—non-verbally. The storyline is communicated through the body—and in this case, quite well. I never lost track of the story.

However, there were times I found myself wishing the physical movements had been more refined. Some of the actors' movements were a bit heavy in some of the dancing or when simulating zero gravity. (It looked more like 20% gravity at times.) To their credit, I will say those zero-gravity scenes look like they take a lot of strength and flexibility! The lab-coated scientists who manned gorgeous, high-production-value sets, had some of the best choreography of the play.

The music, which co-creator David Mackay, aptly describes as, "hallucinogenic," samples from Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the soundtrack to "2001," and Queen (which accompanies a delightful Busby-Berkeley-inspired dance number). And if you're not into classic rock, don't worry the music is short and they do play some Goldfrapp to cleanse your palate.

This play really pleased and entertained my inner geek. The bad part is that it reminds you how long ago the space race seems now.

Kosmic Mambo

October 02 - October 19, 2014
Studio 58/Langara College
100 West 49th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 2Z6

Tickets are $12-$25 at TicketsTonight.com.

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