HOLY CAPED Crusaders' Comeback!
The bat-talions of Baby Boomer Batmaniacs will enjoy "Batman Versus the League of Doom," a sub-sophomoric spoof of a parody of a comic book character, playing weekends at midnight at Source Theater's Warehouse Rep.
Co-creators Jack Mason and Jed Spingarn have imagined what they would have liked to have seen on the hit late-'60s series, and we rejoin archvillains the Joker, the Riddler and the Catwoman to find them bent, as always, on conquering fair Gotham City and, with it, democracy and the world.
The 60-minute script is a typically contrived "Batman" scenario, complete with manic alliteration, bad puns and worse jokes, most of which manage to get laughs -- which may be ascribed in part to the lateness of the hour. Mason and Spingarn haven't really tampered much with the original. Though there is some smirking profanity, this lampoon is surprisingly tame -- it's easy to envision a far nastier rendition.
The 13 energetic amateurs in the cast have clearly boned up on reruns, and they perform with the rude and enthusiastic energy of campus cutups. As Batman, Robert Massing gets Adam West's wooden, pause-riddled delivery with riotous accuracy; and as Robin, co-author Spingarn slams his fist into his glove with each increasingly horrible pun. Leading the triumvirate of terror is Nick Smyth, who perfectly recreates Cesar Romero's Joker, from green hair to the ghastly laughter; Ian Armstrong and Lisa Sherman are also fine as the Riddler and the Catwoman. And Bill Mondale (yes, that Mondale's son) plays a goony henchman.
"Batman," which began as a student production at Brown University last year and graduated with its creators, is the most successful entry to date in Source's ongoing Midnight Theater series, which is shaping up as an imaginative alternative to video bars and lat- night television.
BATMAN VERSUS THE LEAGUE OF DOOM -- At Source Theater's Warehouse Rep Fridays and Saturdays at midnight, through March 29.