Review: Revenge of the Space Pandas


PLAYBILL: This year’s varsity play was Revenge of the Space Pandas, originally written by David Mamet as a family friendly comedy.

Maggie Ward, Editor-in-Chief

Walking into Revenge of the Space Pandas, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Why are there pandas in space? What do they want to get revenge on? I had no expectations. That said, if I did have expectations, the production put on by the theatre program would have definitely exceeded them. 

Revenge of the Space Pandas follows Leonard “Binky” Rudich (Logan Rudd), Vivian Mooster (Morgan Lally), and Bob the sheep (Dimitri Marinakos) on their adventure through time and space, eventually landing on a planet called “Crestview”– the Fourth World in the Goolagong System. The Supreme Leader George Topax (Andrew Marron) tries to kidnap Bob so he can make a sweater out of the sheep’s wool. As the trio of friends tries to escape Topax and the space panda guardians, their adventures are punctuated with silly humor, amazing set design, and creative use of audience interaction. 

The production is originally meant for children and the cast performed for just that. Lillie Cawthorne played the role of Mrs. Rudich, Binky’s mom. Her incredible voice sent laughter through the crowd as she called the friends down for dinner. Everyone in the audience could relate to the constant nagging of the “DINNER!” screamed repeatedly by their mother and Cawthorne’s voice and tone embodied every inch of that character. 

The costume design was also quite humorous as George Topax strongly resembled Willy Wonka from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Behind him, the stage was packed with the citizens of Crestview, all decked out in neon, overemphasizing the bizarreness of the planet. However, the panda costumes were out of this world. Giant, fuzzy, and not at all threatening, the bears lumbered around the stage in pursuit of Bob the sheep and were still able to enunciate clearly. 

Binky, Bob, and Vivian are originally from Waukegan, Il. In an effort to stress the somewhat relatable yet still random hometown, the crew managed to get the audience involved in a “Waukegan” chant. Although the production was less than an hour, they kept the audience involved, on their toes, and interested in what was happening on stage. 

It was a delight watching such a light-hearted performance that transports you into a different universe. Revenge of the Space Pandas is perfect for any age audience and was an awesome way for the DGN theater program to start off its 2021-2022 productions.