Tattered Capes

Critics

LemonMeter

75 %

Reviews: 6

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 3

In Tattered Capes, it's Kevin and Stephanie Connolly's fifth wedding anniversary, and Kevin has a night of celebration planned for them. Of course, this means he won't be going out on his regular patrol of Metro City as his alter-ego, M-Pulse, the self-appointed Eminence of Electromagnetism. But things should be fine without him for one night, right? Wrong. One would think that there could be no secrets left between a husband and wife after five years of matrimonial bliss, but when a powerful supervillain's attack interrupts Kevin and Stephanie's date, a hero's unmasking bears significant consequences for the Connollys…consequences that will resonate and redefine their relationship forever.

Reviews

Avatar
"The production’s DIY special effects range from the creative — fight scenes in shadow, stage-hands in black hoodies openly assisting with flying — to the cursory: running back and forth across the stage, using vague “magic” gestures. While the premise shows promise, Tattered Capes’s sloppy execution and alarming gender politics prevent it from taking flight. Playwright Gregory Crafts’s writing is underdeveloped and poorly structured, resulting in scattered monologues, stilted dialogue, and psychologically ill-defined characters. Corey Lynn Howe’s staging is similarly mishandled, resulting in random, directionless wandering to match the rambling script’s cheap twists. However, Soda Persi’s choreography is an effective and watchable blend of dance and combat."

sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"Theatre Unleashed has produced another winner. This show succeeds on every level; it absolutely merits your time and attention. It is much more than the flashy effects and cool costumes, more than the fantastic fight scenes and entertaining characters. Crafts has written characters that despite possessing super abilities are relatable. At its heart, this show is a drama about relationships; it is a story that explores hard truths about marriage, relationships, and trust."

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar
"...the show manages to pack in a lot of physical action in a tight space without ever making us fear for anyone’s safety – that sounds geeky nervous but it’s actually a tremendous accomplishment. The use of shadow play works well and seems to be a running theme this year.  Maybe there’s a backstory we were missing if we weren’t already a fan of the character, but something felt off throughout the show and it seems likely it links back to this assumption that we will already know the world walking in.  Maybe the chemistry between Kevin and Stephanie was so good, we wanted to see more of them together as a couple before wave after wave of enemy forces tried to end their lives.  Throughout the play, there seemed to be a need to catch up to the story, when what we most love about seeing live theatre is our ability to revel in it as it unfolds."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"Tattered Capes is one of the finest shows Greg Crafts has ever written. I’ve seen a lot of his work, but for sheer personal force, character development and definition, and dialogue, this show is a huge accomplishment. Add in the unbelievable choreography and some of the best stage combat I’ve seen at literally any level of theatre, and what Greg, Soda Persi, Corey Lynn Howe, and their cast have accomplished is stunning. The fight choreography in specific is certainly among the finest TU has ever seen, if not a standalone in that category, and the dialogue zips. The character work, definition, and development is strong, with one of the best villain turns I’ve seen, especially in an original, standalone work in a totally original universe. The show is also very aware of itself and its genre, and pokes loving fun at superheroes even as it tells a serious and moving story."

sweet - Brett Moore


Avatar
"Tattered Capes is a brilliant original superhero story written by Gregory Crafts! Teaming up with director, Corey Lynn Howe, choreographer, Soda Persi, and a perfectly well-rounded cast, this group put on a show that was much more fun than watching a superhero movie on the big screen. Amazing lighting and shadow work. Perfect casting! Tons of depth to the characters and acting. Awesome stunt and dance work. Great music including some Brass Against!"

sweet - Adam Briggs


Avatar
"Overview A classical tragedy set in a superhero universe that’s both familiar and distinct, vividly rendered through choreography and stagecraft. A mediation on the dangers of both envy and forgiveness. Watchmen meets Othello. What I liked Crafts’ familiarity with comic book tropes allows him to offer a convincing alternative to the familiar populations of D.C. and Marvel. The Tattered Capes world contains analogues of heroes like Superman, Quicksilver, and Batman, presented with the same balance of self-aware comedy and forthright sincerity that characterizes the best graphic novels. Funny without ever becoming self-demeaning, Crafts’ world is the backdrop for a tragicomic tale of love besieged by insecurity and hunger for power. Constantly shifting between humor and darkness, the storyline’s morality tale leads us down a path we’d never infer from the whimsical prologue. The story would be effective on its own, but is made startlingly vivid by Corey Lynn Howe’s visual concept and Soda Persi’s choreography. A minimalist set is defined by movable walls that can double as scenery or screens for shadow acting. Heroes and villains tense into martial poses, flip, clash, or roll gracefully across the set – their gymnastics sometimes abetted by unobtrusive “shadow” actors in grey. We accept the visual language immediately and start to forget that the shadows are there. Aided by larger-than-life sound design, we start to imagine the impossible forces that the stage motion suggests. The cast embraces the sincerity-amidst-comedy comic book duality, letting the grand personas feel natural without being overly naturalistic. Travis Joe Dixon brings nuance and humanity to the misguided hero/husband M-Pulse, whose journey is designed to give us a progression of conflicting emotions. Joanna Mercedes wonderfully conveys a mixture of strength, earnest idealism, and the heartbreaking vulnerability the forms the core of the story. Supporting cast are excellent as well, giving humor and nuance to familiar tropes, and acknowledging their own foibles while never disrespecting comic book tradition. The intelligence of the narrative, commitment of cast, and strikingly imaginative physicalization together make the story utterly absorbing despite the modest size of Studio/Stage. The word “immersive” is thrown around a lot in theater; here, world building and performance create deeper immersion than interactive gimmickry ever could. What could be improved The dark narrative may not emotionally resonate with every audience member. There’s sometimes an ambiguity about whose story is being told, making us feel like an outside observer of events, rather than a constant rider in a protagonist’s head. While the action sound design is superb, the spartan set cries out for more audio ambience to establish locations like a city block, restaurant, or secret headquarters. Some moments feel awkwardly quiet and dry, detached from a sense of physical locale."

sweet - Michael Shapiro


Avatar
"Also praise to Director Corey Lynn Howe who skillfully provides the pacing and innovation to Crafts’ intelligent Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionand probing script which allows the whole production to leap a tall building in a single bound. A gold medal"

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


MoniqueLeBleu
""..[a] fresh, funny, and poignant new work...While celebrating their wedding anniversary, Kevin (Travis Joe Dixon) and Stephanie’s (Joanna Mercedes) date is spoiled by a supervillain attack, resulting in the unmasking of Kevin as a superhero. However, what he soon learns is that Stephanie has a secret too. What follows is an action-packed and introspective take on the nature of real honesty, mutual acceptance, growth, and choice in contemporary relationships...Interspersed are some well-choreographed action and shadow ballet by Fringe veterans Corey Lynn Howe, director, and Soda Persi, choreographer–together and respectively–that provide a nice juxtaposition between the loving relationship between Kevin and Stephanie and the harshness of their realities. Not just for fans of the superhero action genre, “Tattered Capes” takes a good, hard look at unconditional love and acceptance in modern marriage. Be sure to bring a date.""

sweet - Monique LeBleu - LA Beat - ...read full review


Avatar
"Written by the uber-talented Greg Crafts and directed by the equally brilliant Corey Lynn Howe, Tattered Capes delivers where only DC and Marvel have delivered before. This was a truly different type of Fringe show for TU, and proved that there is nothing they cannot do."

sweet - Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic - ...read full review


Avatar
"The production’s DIY special effects range from the creative — fight scenes in shadow, stage-hands in black hoodies openly assisting with flying — to the cursory: running back and forth across the stage, using vague “magic” gestures. While the premise shows promise, Tattered Capes’s sloppy execution and alarming gender politics prevent it from taking flight. Playwright Gregory Crafts’s writing is underdeveloped and poorly structured, resulting in scattered monologues, stilted dialogue, and psychologically ill-defined characters. Corey Lynn Howe’s staging is similarly mishandled, resulting in random, directionless wandering to match the rambling script’s cheap twists. However, Soda Persi’s choreography is an effective and watchable blend of dance and combat."

sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"Theatre Unleashed has produced another winner. This show succeeds on every level; it absolutely merits your time and attention. It is much more than the flashy effects and cool costumes, more than the fantastic fight scenes and entertaining characters. Crafts has written characters that despite possessing super abilities are relatable. At its heart, this show is a drama about relationships; it is a story that explores hard truths about marriage, relationships, and trust."

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar
"...the show manages to pack in a lot of physical action in a tight space without ever making us fear for anyone’s safety – that sounds geeky nervous but it’s actually a tremendous accomplishment. The use of shadow play works well and seems to be a running theme this year.  Maybe there’s a backstory we were missing if we weren’t already a fan of the character, but something felt off throughout the show and it seems likely it links back to this assumption that we will already know the world walking in.  Maybe the chemistry between Kevin and Stephanie was so good, we wanted to see more of them together as a couple before wave after wave of enemy forces tried to end their lives.  Throughout the play, there seemed to be a need to catch up to the story, when what we most love about seeing live theatre is our ability to revel in it as it unfolds."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"Also praise to Director Corey Lynn Howe who skillfully provides the pacing and innovation to Crafts’ intelligent Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionand probing script which allows the whole production to leap a tall building in a single bound. A gold medal"

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


MoniqueLeBleu
""..[a] fresh, funny, and poignant new work...While celebrating their wedding anniversary, Kevin (Travis Joe Dixon) and Stephanie’s (Joanna Mercedes) date is spoiled by a supervillain attack, resulting in the unmasking of Kevin as a superhero. However, what he soon learns is that Stephanie has a secret too. What follows is an action-packed and introspective take on the nature of real honesty, mutual acceptance, growth, and choice in contemporary relationships...Interspersed are some well-choreographed action and shadow ballet by Fringe veterans Corey Lynn Howe, director, and Soda Persi, choreographer–together and respectively–that provide a nice juxtaposition between the loving relationship between Kevin and Stephanie and the harshness of their realities. Not just for fans of the superhero action genre, “Tattered Capes” takes a good, hard look at unconditional love and acceptance in modern marriage. Be sure to bring a date.""

sweet - Monique LeBleu - LA Beat - ...read full review


Avatar
"Written by the uber-talented Greg Crafts and directed by the equally brilliant Corey Lynn Howe, Tattered Capes delivers where only DC and Marvel have delivered before. This was a truly different type of Fringe show for TU, and proved that there is nothing they cannot do."

sweet - Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic - ...read full review


Avatar
"Tattered Capes is one of the finest shows Greg Crafts has ever written. I’ve seen a lot of his work, but for sheer personal force, character development and definition, and dialogue, this show is a huge accomplishment. Add in the unbelievable choreography and some of the best stage combat I’ve seen at literally any level of theatre, and what Greg, Soda Persi, Corey Lynn Howe, and their cast have accomplished is stunning. The fight choreography in specific is certainly among the finest TU has ever seen, if not a standalone in that category, and the dialogue zips. The character work, definition, and development is strong, with one of the best villain turns I’ve seen, especially in an original, standalone work in a totally original universe. The show is also very aware of itself and its genre, and pokes loving fun at superheroes even as it tells a serious and moving story."

sweet - Brett Moore


Avatar
"Tattered Capes is a brilliant original superhero story written by Gregory Crafts! Teaming up with director, Corey Lynn Howe, choreographer, Soda Persi, and a perfectly well-rounded cast, this group put on a show that was much more fun than watching a superhero movie on the big screen. Amazing lighting and shadow work. Perfect casting! Tons of depth to the characters and acting. Awesome stunt and dance work. Great music including some Brass Against!"

sweet - Adam Briggs


Avatar
"Overview A classical tragedy set in a superhero universe that’s both familiar and distinct, vividly rendered through choreography and stagecraft. A mediation on the dangers of both envy and forgiveness. Watchmen meets Othello. What I liked Crafts’ familiarity with comic book tropes allows him to offer a convincing alternative to the familiar populations of D.C. and Marvel. The Tattered Capes world contains analogues of heroes like Superman, Quicksilver, and Batman, presented with the same balance of self-aware comedy and forthright sincerity that characterizes the best graphic novels. Funny without ever becoming self-demeaning, Crafts’ world is the backdrop for a tragicomic tale of love besieged by insecurity and hunger for power. Constantly shifting between humor and darkness, the storyline’s morality tale leads us down a path we’d never infer from the whimsical prologue. The story would be effective on its own, but is made startlingly vivid by Corey Lynn Howe’s visual concept and Soda Persi’s choreography. A minimalist set is defined by movable walls that can double as scenery or screens for shadow acting. Heroes and villains tense into martial poses, flip, clash, or roll gracefully across the set – their gymnastics sometimes abetted by unobtrusive “shadow” actors in grey. We accept the visual language immediately and start to forget that the shadows are there. Aided by larger-than-life sound design, we start to imagine the impossible forces that the stage motion suggests. The cast embraces the sincerity-amidst-comedy comic book duality, letting the grand personas feel natural without being overly naturalistic. Travis Joe Dixon brings nuance and humanity to the misguided hero/husband M-Pulse, whose journey is designed to give us a progression of conflicting emotions. Joanna Mercedes wonderfully conveys a mixture of strength, earnest idealism, and the heartbreaking vulnerability the forms the core of the story. Supporting cast are excellent as well, giving humor and nuance to familiar tropes, and acknowledging their own foibles while never disrespecting comic book tradition. The intelligence of the narrative, commitment of cast, and strikingly imaginative physicalization together make the story utterly absorbing despite the modest size of Studio/Stage. The word “immersive” is thrown around a lot in theater; here, world building and performance create deeper immersion than interactive gimmickry ever could. What could be improved The dark narrative may not emotionally resonate with every audience member. There’s sometimes an ambiguity about whose story is being told, making us feel like an outside observer of events, rather than a constant rider in a protagonist’s head. While the action sound design is superb, the spartan set cries out for more audio ambience to establish locations like a city block, restaurant, or secret headquarters. Some moments feel awkwardly quiet and dry, detached from a sense of physical locale."

sweet - Michael Shapiro