March 30, 2006


 “The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock” We had high hopes for this show when we walked into The Goodman Theatre, but “The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock”  just didn’t live up to our expectations and never quite grabbed the interest of any of my children, ages 7, 10 and 12. And judging by how fidgety and distracted many of the children in the audience were, I don’t think we were the only ones who were disappointed.

“Revenge of the Space Pandas,” by David Mamet, starts out with Leonard “Binky” Rudich (Blaine Hogan) trying to fix his two-speed clock, which he hopes can blast him into another time dimension. He’s working alongside his friends, Bob the talking sheep (Eric Slater) and Vivian (Maribeth Monroe). Just as Binky’s mom (McKinley Carter) calls the three of them to lunch, Binky presses the lever on the clock and they suddenly find themselves on Crestview, a planet 50 light-years away from Earth.

At first the trio hopes for a quick trip back home, but that changes when the planet’s Supreme Ruler (Gary Alexander) sees Bob. Turns out the Supreme Ruler has always wanted a wool sweater, but there are no sheep on the planet, so he wants Bob. And after he gets his wool, he wants to clobber all three earthlings with a giant pumpkin.

Much of the 60-minute play is based on total absurdity, like the giant pumpkin, which we all found amusing. The costumes were fun and we all got a kick out of Vivian, who did a great job of conveying her mixed feelings about being in space with Binky. Unfortunately though, we never quite developed any emotional connection with the other actors and never felt engaged in the drama onstage. It was a cute show, but not really all that interesting, even to my two younger children who normally love plays.

If you do decide to check it out for yourself, this is a lighthearted play with no scary scenes that is appropriate for even very young children. Liz DeCarlo

"The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock" is showing at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturdays until April 22 at The Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (312) 443-3800, Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids.


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