First off, a disclosure. I have never seen the original online Dr. Horrible starring my beloved Neil Patrick Harris (NPH), Nathan Fillion (NF) and Felicia Day (FD). It’s true. As much as I heart Joss Whedon, I have never been big on watching TV online and, to be honest, I’m lucky to have time to watch good ol’ fashioned television TV. I thought about watching it before driving down to San Diego but two things held me back. One, this move from LA to SD is killing me and every spare moment is going into packing and prepping. Two, I kind of wanted to see the show on its own merit so that I wouldn’t be tempted to compare it to the Whedon’s Writer’s Strike pet project.
Another disclosure, I’m a huge theatre nerd. I come from a theatrical background and have been performing most of my life. I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that goes into putting together a production. Needless to say, I was very, very excited to see this show.
The evening started off with Gam3rs: The Play, a one-man show about an extreme gamer and his attempt to wage an epic RPG battle in the middle of a work day. The premise was clever and the actor/co-writer, Brian Bielawski, was great as the spastic and obsessive Mountain Dew drinker “Steve.” I dug the myriad of obscure nerd references and character voices he whipped out. Nary a line was said that wasn’t culturally significant in the geek lexicon. Having done one-(wo)man shows myself, I know how challenging it can be to pull off and I think he did an admirable job. I guessed the ending the very first time the boss came out but I chalk that up to my superhuman ability to guess the ending of virtually everything I watch. Seriously, it’s bizarre. That said, I smiled and laughed throughout the whole show and truly enjoyed watching it. If you’re into WoW, D&D, FF, Diablo, DQ or any of the other fantasy-based RPG’s, you will appreciate this show. Part of my press packet included a “made of awesome” pin which, I must admit, is pretty awesome.
Onto the main event!
Like I said, I’ve never seen the original Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog so I really didn’t know what to expect from the Live! version. I figured, if it’s created by Joss Whedon then it’s got to be good! Andy Lowe and Co. did not disappoint. There was great deal of creativity that went into this in the form of shadow play. My friend (who has seen the original) wasn’t sure how they were going to pull off certain scenes and the shadows seemed to fill in those blanks for him. As a Dr. H virgin, it made perfect sense to me to use them as a storytelling tool. One thing we were both shocked and impressed by was when they brought out an actual van that had been cut in half and attached to a flat for Captain Hammer’s introduction. Rarely do you see such a feat on a large stage let alone one that is relatively small like 10th Avenue Theatre’s.
There were some seriously amazing voices on that stage. Nathan Turner (Dr. Horrible) was utterly charming whether he was in “aspiring evil genius” mode or “awkward nerd likes pretty girl” mode. You can tell that he’s a stage veteran and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment that he was performing. I was surprised to read in the program that this is Jane Lui’s (Penny) first time acting. Very impressive. Both her voice and her demeanor are very sweet and she’s completely adorable. Seriously, I wish I could pull off her awesome hairstyle. Check out her music, it’s lovely. Michael Minto (Captain Hammer) is delightfully cocky and obviously having a lot of fun playing a character with such bravado. I can totally picture Nathan Fillion (*sigh*) playing this role. The rest of the ensemble cast has some wonderful moments but one in particular was my favorite actor in the whole show. Zack Wolfe does double duty as Moist and an extremely flamboyant Captain Hammer fan. Even before he made his first appearance as Moist he was catching my eye as a background singer/dancer in the first laundromat scene and from then on I kept finding my attention wandering in his direction. I can’t even count the number of times he made me LOL. When I met him at the after party I think all I could blurt out was “seriously dude, hilarious.”
Speaking of the after party…it was great to finally meet Andy Lowe, the Director and champion of this noble effort, after corresponding via email. I found him to be warm and engaging and genuinely passionate about this project. The cast members were awesome and friendly. It seems like a kick ass group to work with. The rooftop space is the home of other parties related to Gam3rCon and if you get a chance, you should definitely check it out. You will be rewarded with lots of string lights and some seriously gorgeous views of downtown San Diego.
The after party also marked the first time ever that I’ve been recognized in person. Like many nerds, I tend to be shy and a bit socially awkward (hopefully it wasn’t too obvious) so having someone say “Hey, you’re Hot Nerd Girl!” was kind of trippy and kind of awesome all rolled up into one big burrito of weird. I’m not really sure what that means but I’m rolling with it.
In conclusion , if you are heading to San Diego for Comic-Con, you should really swing by Gam3rCon and check out the tournaments and plays. You can get more information about all of the festivities at www.gam3rcon.com. And hit www.iwanttosingalong.com for more on Dr. Horrible Live!
Go. Now. Don’t make me shoot you with my Freeze Ray.