Fringe review: 'Imagination Meltdown Adventure'
By Maura Judkis
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
If Millennials are said to be the Peter Pan generation, prolonging childhood as long as they can live rent-free in their parents’ house, Jack, the frustrated young man in Pointless Theater Company’s “Imagination Meltdown Adventure,” may be their poster boy. He’s a man-child who, though he plans to get married to his longtime girlfriend, dwells in an imaginary world of wizards and role-playing games, with a healthy dose of selfish entitlement.
But the girlfriend, Amy, leaves him, and the romantic failure spirals him into a deep depression that sets off a magical chain of events. When Jack is granted a drunken wish that brings his fantasies to life, he must battle the villains of his own invention to prevent the apocalypse. The coming-of-age quest that results is equal parts Harry Potter, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, “Scott Pilgrim,” and every video game that ever was, with an electronica score composed by Aaron Bliden and Jay Kasten to match.
Though Jack’s journey is awfully similar to those trod by other ordinary-guys-turned-action-heroes before, what sets “Imagination Meltdown Adventure” apart from the pack is the masterful puppet design led by Matt Reckeweg. Angels and wizards battle a baddie that looks like an escapee from the “Bodies” exhibition, with other puppets influenced by everything from traditional South Asian puppetry to internet memes (cats wielding machine guns are among the forces summoned for the final showdown). Lessons are learned, heroes are made, and apologies are offered, but of the wrong sort -- “I’m sorry for this apocalypse and everything,” Jack offers, when he really should be apologizing for having been a jerk.