The Choose Your Own Adventure books by R. A. Montgomery were a staple of my preteen years. I enjoyed the sci-fi/fantasy stories, but most of all I loved being able to have an impact on the direction of the story—and when it ended too early, I could cheat back to the spot where I’d made the fatal decision in hopes of a more favorable outcome. I was in control of the story.
Remy Raygun of the Space Brigade: A Build-Your-Own Space Opera, written by Jacob Gulliver and Kyle Dekker, is not your typical sci-fi story. You, the audience, will not watch the show passively in the typical fashion. Hot Chocolate Media has brought to life my favorite genre of childhood books. I took a sneak peek at this show and am predicting it to be a hit at this year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Captain Remy Raygun (Natavia Lewis) is on a mission with her very enthusiastic sidekick, Skip (KT Magnolia), to bring peace between two feuding nations, only to find out her archnemesis could be involved. Whether or not she succeeds is up to you, the audience. I witnessed two very different endings, and those two aren’t the only possibilities.
For me, what sets this show apart from the rest is not just the unique audience participation but the ability of the actors to tell several different versions of the same story. Just because the audience chooses one route at the beginning does not mean the story will continue down that same path. What if the audience picks a path that leads directly to a devastating end for our heroes? Remy has a solution for that too.
Lewis, making her Minnesota Fringe Festival debut, instantly grabs you with her enthusiasm, and her transition between the title character and the narrator is easy to follow. As an old reader of the classic books, I could relate to her questioning of some of the events of the story that were in front of her. Captain Raygun’s commander, the Commodore (Cassie Liberkowski—also playing Doctor Fusion and the Fifth Traveler), adds comical authority. Liberkowski is challenged with quick character transitions, but they are well written and performed.
KT Magnolia, another first-time Minnesota Fringe participant, brings tons of energy and silliness as the sidekicks Skip and Terry. If you and your fellow audience members choose the right story path, you may have the opportunity to witness a hilarious battle between the two.
I am also a sucker for an entertaining and memorable villain, and Rachel Austin’s Baroness Badmouth is just that. I have quoted the character several times since seeing the show, joking “Shut up, Terry” to my own theater sidekick, who attended the preview with me. The Baroness’s interactions with the sidekick reminded me of Pinky and the Brain. Austin adds additional humor as the ambassadors of the feuding nations.
Remy Raygun of the Space Brigade is accompanied by composer/keyboardist Joseph Yé and, also making her Minnesota Fringe Festival debut, thereminist Caly McMorrow. The two add a beautiful sci-fi space-opera soundtrack that is aurally stimulating and fits well with the story.
I am excited to see this show on stage in front of a full audience and looking forward to experiencing another new ending. Remy, her crew, and the villains are playing on the Augsburg Mainstage August 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10, 2018. Tickets, schedule, and other information can be found on the show’s page on the Minnesota Fringe Festival website.