As the lights go on for this three-act show (full disclosure, my first live theater since COVID-19), Dr. Horrible’s maniacal laugh brings to life the insane claustrophobia we’ve all been feeling for the past year. and a half. Played by a charming and pathetic Kevin Webb, Dr. Horrible is the worst kind of troll on the internet – a lonely one with an unrequited crush and supervillain weapons at his disposal. Under the direction of Ed Rutherford and musical direction by Micky York, this “fan-authorized production” of Black Button Eyes of geek Internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Choir Singing Blog is a fun pissing contest between the good doctor and Captain Hammer (Tommy Thurston), two egomaniacs who don’t deserve the affection of Penny (Stephanie Fongheiser), who is just a well-meaning volunteer trying to help the homeless.
Dr. horrible was published in 2008, long before the 2016 election brought these specific male archetypes to the fore and co-author Joss Whedon’s allegations of sexual harassment and abuse entered the public consciousness (more on incels and Whedon’s implications in Catey Sullivan’s Advance). The passage of time adds a disturbing aspect of “art that imitates life” to the production, but Black Button Eyes is also hosting this show as a benefit to Season of Concern, a non-profit organization, which would make good Penny was very proud. While this run was originally scheduled for 2020, it is a fitting transition back to the theater after months of isolation. Much of the action takes place on seven screens onstage (feels like home, right?) And the pads run time over an hour into two ten-minute intermissions seemingly tailored to our stunted attention spans. .