Travel to the future/past with ‘Astro Boy’ at Company One

The action in "Astro Boy' mixes its media. Credit: Liza Voll
The action in “Astro Boy’ mixes its media. Credit: Liza Voll

“Astro Boy and the God of Comics” is an interesting, quirky tale that also serves as an homage to Osamau Tezuka, one of the originators of Japanese manga comics. It’s also an excellent 1950s-style sci-fi comic adventure in which some larger-than-life superhero needs to quickly save the world from obliteration. Thank you, Astro Boy.

Company One’s delightful production captures both the silly and serious sides of this nuclear age story with animation, video, puppetry, and incredibly well-executed sound and light design. But the most impressive artistic feat of all is the live, fast-paced manga-style charcoal drawing by actors who actually learned to draw for this production.

Playwright (and director) Natsu Onoda Power tells the story in a series of 12 “episodes” in reverse chronological order, from Astro Boy’s descent into the sun in order to save the planet, to the birth of his creator Osamau Tezuka.

Like Astro Boy, Tezuka, (played brilliantly by Clark Young), straddles reality and fiction, almost always opting for prolific artistic creation over the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood. Somehow Young imbues this irritable artist with enough humanity to make you actually care about him.

Gianella Flores brings Astro Boy to life with the sweet, awe-shucks demeanor of a young boy completely oblivious to his genius IQ and superhuman abilities. The innocence Flores brings to Astro Boy as he enthusiastically runs with a small puppet on a stick, representing his own final flight, is as chilling as it is endearing.

Like Tezuka’s work, “Astro Boy and the God of Comics” is a lot more than what it initially appears to be. It’s a wild ride worth taking.

If you go
Through August 16
BCA Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont St., Boston
$20 – $38


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