How many times have you turned to a bona fide comedy for laughs—Portland Center Stage's recent take on The Importance of Being Earnest, say—only to find mild amusement? It's a problem LastRites Productions looks to correct with The Wild World of Batwoman, their giggly stage adaptation of an atrocious '60s superhero flick.
The plot is negligible, but it involves a stolen device the title character (Bri Pruett, who's sharp throughout, if a little one-note) and her five Batgirls (criminally underused, especially Crystal Roseboro and Mia Allen who offer signs of nuance in a production devoid of it) must retrieve from the evil and mysterious Rat Fink (Peter J. Lewis).
It's silly stuff. The problem is, the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 already bled this movie dry when they tapped it in the early '90s. By going head to head with MST3K, LastRites are bound to look feeble in comparison. They're not, of course. At its best, the play works on the level of a drunken prank and is very charming for that. But the likeability of everyone involved doesn't make up for the fact that, by and large, they're working in the unfunny tradition of dialect-mangling costume comedy (The Carol Burnett Show, MADtv, ad infinitum, ad nauseam). Kitsch hasn't been this uncool since before it was kitsch.