Encore Michigan

Ixion’s ‘Fight Girl’ is fun and fierce

Review March 20, 2019 Bridgette Redman

LANSING, Mich.–Not every show is for every audience. There are certain shows, though, that reach out to non-traditional theater audiences and when they get there, they have a blast.

Such is the case with Ixion’s Fight Girl Battle World, which enjoyed a rowdy audience that was totally into everything the show tries to do.

Playwright Qui Nguyen isn’t trying to create a heart-rending story or even one with any sort of message. Rather, Fight Girl is a fun science-fiction romp that answers the question, “How would you portray a space battle on stage?”

The show begins on the planet Battle World where one of the last humans, E-V, fights street battles for survival, and because her keeper, Zimlek, pays her to. The audience quickly learns that humans are widely hated throughout the universe as a violent race that eats babies and rapes household pets. They’ve mostly been exterminated thanks to the efforts of the Alliance and General Dan’h Madrin, who is now having second thoughts.

The Ixion production is an achievement of costuming (Katy Kettles) and make-up (Sadonna Croff). They have created a wide variety of aliens that would make Gene Rodenberry proud. Both artists made broad, creative choices and they paid off with a visual extravaganza that contributes to making this show true “space opera.”

The show also uses a lot of pre-filmed video, produced by Paul Schmidt, to provide newscasts, transmissions through space, and interiors of space crafts. It creates a multi-media mix that again makes possible the production of a space show on stage.

An audience favorite is the many battles and on-stage fights, choreographed by John Lennox. While there are some people with blasters, most of the fights involve hand-to-hand combat and few scenes pass without some sort of fight.

Storm Kopitsch as E-V has many of the best moves and she is convincing as the young fighter who has to struggle for self-determination and survival. Kopitsch has great energy and personality and creates a character who was easy to root for.

Jillian Tosolt’s LC-4, a highly evolved robot whose wits and sarcasm would put most Star Wars droids to shame, is a delightful addition to what becomes the rebel crew. Tosolt puts in the strongest performance, easily switching from one portrayal to the next and making all of them engaging and amusing. She has fantastic comedic timing and is fully committed to each of the script’s outrageous turns.

While she warms up once on stage, Charlsie Kussmaul’s first appearance in the show is on recorded video where she is a bit stiff, reciting lines that she stumbles over. That’s unfortunate, and perhaps the company might redo the recorded bit.

Leo Poroshin is constantly hidden in over-the-top costuming, and manages to make each one work, often providing a sassy jiggle to his threatening villains.

Richard Kopitsch is also sternly threatening as the evil President Ya-Wi. Like Poroshin, he does it while recognizing the basic corniness of the script and playing to it in fun ways.

The cast has nine people who are supplemented by others providing news clip photos and voiceovers. With the exception of Kussmaul, Storm Kopitsch and Erica Beck, they play multiple roles to populate the universe and Nguyen’s space romp.

The show relies on science fiction tropes and a series of jokes often playing directly to the audience. It’s not meant to be a well-structured comedy or a gentle satire of wits. Rather, it is a parody and a wild trip that is unapologetically fan service for all those geeks who can’t get enough of Star Wars or Star Trek.

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Week of 9/16/2019

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