Joss Whedon. Two words that make any self respecting geek sit up and take notice. And, al said, with good reason! Mixing comic book cool with fantastic ideas and witty dialogue he has created ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Firefly’ and during the writer’s strike an internet sensation, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Music Blog.
While it may have slipped under the radar here in Britain it has become something of a phenomenon and American High School Theatre Company have adapted the musical into a fun little stage show.
The story is set in a world filled with Superheroes, Dr.Horrible a mad scientist wannabe is auditioning for the League of Evil and has two goals: to destroy his nemesis, Captain Hammer and to work up the courage to speak get the girl of his dreams, Penny.
Combining brilliant musical numbers with hilarious characters it is ripe for adaptation, but even when keeping in mind it is a high school theatre production they still could have done a lot better.
While it keeps mainly to the source material, there are some questionable changes: who on Earth thought it was a good idea to turn, Horrible’s best friend Moist (with the power to turns things soggy) from a man into a woman, causing some unfortunate and completely accidental double-entendre that has the audience cracking up.
The action sequences are dealt with using video projections but they are poorly executed, those seeing it for the first time will easily be able to follow the story but might struggle to follow why certain moments happen. It is further hampered on tonight’s performance by at least half a dozen technical faults including faulty VT’s, low microphone volume and later a crackling mike that drowns out an entire song.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Dr.Horrible, this adaptation is not the place to start. But for obsessive fans (and there are many, based on the audience t-shirts) it is an interesting and fun performance, though marred with flaws and poor joke delivery.