Entertainment » Movies

Yellow Bird in Space

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jul 6, 2018
'Yellow Bird in Space' returns to the Hayden Planetarium for one more performance, on August 2
'Yellow Bird in Space' returns to the Hayden Planetarium for one more performance, on August 2  (Source:Jason Slavick)

Liars and Believers are back with a fresh take on their delightful comedy "Yellow Bird Chase." Get ready to take the chase to the final frontier as LAB blasts off for "Yellow Bird in Space."

Featured as part of the Museum of Science Summer Thursday Series, the revamped play takes on extra dimensions and soars into celestial realm, thanks to imaginative writing, energetic clowning, and some nifty three-hundred-sixty-degree projection work.

As with the original play, "Yellow Bird in Space" is (almost) entirely delivered in a gibberish language, but one with a recognizable and consistent vocabulary. Three custodial workers - Marco (Jesse Garlick), Ruffles (Rebecca Lehrhoff), and Poodge (Glen Moore) - are (not so) hard at work on their cleaning detail, picking up rubbish and getting carried away with their antics, when they discover a fabulous yellow bird. (Or, in their argot, "Flattaza!") Only after the bird has winged off in a panic do they find the egg that the bird has left behind; what follows is a frantic chase to reunite mother and chicks-to-be as the trio race after the fleeing yellow bird by land, sea, and outer space.

Pantomime, audience interaction, and spirited gibberish keep the adventure flying high as the three heroes brave everything that comes their way. Creatures from the deep - fearsome "flattasnaps," for instance, not to mention flocks of flying fish - combine with hazardous patches of floating garbage and the tragic sight of a "Chicken of the Swishwash" tangled in a net to pose wrenching challenges, but the trio press on. They are unstoppable and inventive, even when the "flattaza" soars into space, leaving them to create makeshift rocket packs. (The under-confident Poodge turns out to be the one with the best ideas... and the most abundant rocket fuel.)

A trippy space voyage (just the sort of thing you expect to see in the Charles Haydn Planetarium) brings the trio to an alien planet where ecological neglect has resulted in a global junkyard. Even here, though, the local pub does a brisk business; thirsty for a drop of "glug," the adventurers enter the otherworldly tavern, there to discover a whole new realm of adventure. Tanked on a "glugtini," Ruffles becomes charmingly coquettish before launching into a torchy, Marlene Dietrich-tinged rendition of "Rocket Man"; Poodge finds himself the object of an alien's affections (the alien is played, quite convincingly, by a mop - Moore serves double duty as a puppeteer); and the whole crew are menaced by the robotic pub owner, Big Baddie. The projections are colorful, sometimes beautiful, and the show's playlist is both well-chosen and suitably spaced out. (Where on earth did they find a recording of Meco's disco version of the "Star Wars" soundtrack?)

Courage is rewarded, of course, and there's even a sly little nod to that other kid-friendly fantasia of innocence and space travel, "The Little Prince." (Two, maybe, if you count the appearance of a Cheetos-devouring snake.)

The projections and music add immeasurably to the experience, but the essential charm of the "Yellow Bird" plays - both the original and this one - lies with the cast, who portray the characters as a supercharged mix of The Animaniacs and the Three Stooges. Summer Thursdays at the Museum of Science are billed as "adult" entertainment, but that's not entirely the case here. This show is kid stuff in the most glorious sense - the kind you can share with your young 'uns, and that you never outgrow.

At just about an hour long, "Yellow Bird in Space" is a zippy excursion, one that blends ecological consciousness with a storybook sense of adventure and fun. The venue itself makes for a memorable evening of theater; you'll emerge as wide-eyed as the three lovable goofs who propel the show.

"Yellow Bird in Space" returns to the Charles Hayden Planetarium for one more performance, on August 2. But why wait? Get your tickets now before they "flattaza" away!


The Museum of Science's Summer Thursdays series continues with a mix of live music and movie screenings that includes a return engagement of Ruby Rose Fox, STL GLD, and showings of "The Fifth Element" and "Event Horizon." To learn more, go to https://www.mos.org/public-events/summer-thursdays

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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