Earth Sucks Theatre Review - A Cosmic Rock Musical for The Ages


Echo Bell (Emily Stern) is your atypical Earthling teenager who lives in east Houston, Texas. She has a rocker boyfriend, Swayze (Rawn Erickson II), who is obsessed with sex, and girlfriends, Jenn and Jen (Alicyn Packard & Jennifer Fenten), who think she is cool because of that fact. Her father, Max (Christopher Fairbanks), works at NASA and rarely tries to even have a conversation with her with he’s not making her life miserable with all his rules. Mostly he works a lot. Her mother is… well Echo never really knew her mother; she abandoned Echo and Max a long time ago.

Bored and angsty, Echo turns to her two most beloved escapes: astronomy and rock & roll. She manufactures a fantasy where she meets a cool rock star alien who will whisk her away from the “mundania” that is Earth, to go on an intergalactic concert tour. She even goes so far as to broadcast her most heartfelt ballad out into the universe in hopes that the signal will find someone to answer her call and come rescue her. And it does.

Lucas Revolution $ Emily Stern in "Earth Sucks". Photo Credit: Emika Honda

The band, Citizens of Earth, lead by lanky frontman Fluhbluhbluh (Lucas Revolution) follow Echo’s signal to Earth, eager for a place to rock out, and to hide. We quickly learn that the band are outlaws on their own home planet. An evil pop diva Ulinia Swords (Nakia Syvonne) has enslaved their entire planet with the same one pop song, thus usurping and banding the band’s loose rock sound, not to mention all other forms of music and free thought.

While Echo is ecstatic to have new friends, her rejoicing turns out to be short-lived when she realizes that Fluhbluhbluh has no planet to whisk her away to. What’s even worse is the fact that Ulinia Swords has come to Earth. With the unwitting help of Max, Echo’s dad, Ulinia will enslave not only this planet, but complete her conquest of the rest of the galaxy. That is, unless Echo and Citizens of Earth (the band) can find a way to stop her.

Earth Sucks is a cartoon adventure come to life. It is a s harmless as musicals come with the usual jabs at politics, retail franchise chains and commercialism. The happenings of this play are ridiculous, and acknowledged as such with costume and guerilla scene transitions, even down to using s sock puppet as the means of communication for the lead actor in the piece, Fluhbluhbluh. The music is a mishmash of all genre’s tossed together, ska, rock, polka; not especially melodic music, but it works for the piece. The singing… passes, with Christopher Fairbanks’ understated Max being my favorite. The best thing about the show is the wacky, committed performance of the performer. This company made things very fun and easy for the audience to just let go and engage in this young girl’s fantasy.

Alicyn Packard, Scott Palmason & Jennifer Fenten in "Earth Sucks". Photo Credit: Emika Honda

Folks, this is not serious theater, this is serious fun. This play is not rocket science, if you’ll forgive the pun. The themes are broadcast with each and every song: acceptance, compassion, attentiveness to your fellow man, or teenaged daughter, which ever the case may be. Earth Sucks is a battle cry to fight conformity and a universal plea to just relax: if we get into any serious trouble, we’ve always got the Beatles.

The play is fun for the whole family. Abandon all reason at the door and come check this play out. I will say this, it’s the first time I was not bother by the fact that a central character was played by/with a sock puppet. Wow, maybe I’ve grown a little too.

Earth Sucks: a cosmic rock musical lands at Art/Works Theatre on October 4, 2008 with performances thru November 2, 2008.

Art/works Theatre
6569 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA90038
(between highland and Cahuenga; cross street Seward)

For more info call: 323-960-7744

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