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Studio Theatre – Milton Theatre

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, July 21, 12 p.m.
Sunday, July 29, 5 p.m.

They say: “A new musical comedy, inspired by Carmen Sandiego, tracks the global pursuit of an agent gone rogue. While on the run, she encounters colorful criminals, outrageous heists…and puns. For Camilla, getting caught is just the beginning.”

Lindsey’s Take: Carmen Sandiego was an elusive part of many childhoods, teaching video game adventure and international geography as she raced around her 8-bit world with a 10-year-old in hot pursuit. Like Oregon Trail: Quest for the West! from Capital Fringe 2011, Camilla Sanfrancisco blends a new musical storyline with nods to our original that can’t quite outshine nostalgia but certainly has fun trying.

Camilla’s fight to clear her name and discover the real double agent sabotaging ACME takes her around the world—-obviously. Each song and V.I.L.E agent she meets gives her a new piece of the puzzle as they try to fit in with that Where in the World theme, though some come closer than others. A villain in vinyl doing the tango in Argentina is a delightful stop before a well-placed plot twist that will entertain any fans of the original game.

Along the way, there are some wonderfully colorful costumes, embellished with matching details that, if anything, outshine the simple ruby red trenchcoat and fedora of our anti-heroine. The set is similarly plain, revolving around The Chief’s desk at ACME headquarters and making clever use of a shower curtain and pair of rolling chairs. But the space—-while a nice one at Studio Theatre—-can be a bit awkward and not ideal for some blocking choices, leaving the cast singing upstage and obscuring what were surely some clever lines, like stealing “crime from the Crimea.”

Some little details make the show, from the futuristic watch communicators that will make anyone who grew up in the ‘80s crack a smile to a few great lines and lyrics, like taking “the nose off the sphinx, most of man’s missing links.” Some big, well-placed lines get all the laughs, but keep watch for the clever bits like The Chief devolving until he’s talking with his agents on an analog clock, or the see-hear-speak no evil trio of the ACME office crew.

The successful Kickstarter campaign that helped bring this production to life was a great first step in telling a backstory of rivalry and moral struggle, but Carmen will always be a villain defeated by any preteen on an Apple II with a moderate knowledge of geography.

See It If: Your geography skills are excellent because of Carmen and her henchmen, or you can’t get that theme song out of your head.

Skip It If: Musical theater/heist thriller/video game seems like more than you can handle.