Nerds from all walks of life will feel at home stepping into the magical portal that is Otherworld Theatre, a Wrigleyville-based theater company specializing in science fiction and fantasy. Fancy a butterbeer before the show? A cozy reading nook inside the TARDIS? Eclectic lobby decor ranging from classic sci-fi book covers to modern fantasy artists? This theater has you covered.
Kittens in space: the saga
Through 9/4: Fri 7 p.m., Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 3 p.m., Otherworld Theater Company, 3914 N. Clark, Chicago, 773-857-2116, otherworldtheatre.org, $20, limited pay-what -you -can tickets available for each performance
Its current production Kittens in space: the saga by John Enright, is a wild catnip-fueled adventure through space and time. In a future where humans have disappeared, animals with augmented intelligence, including cats, dogs, and mice, roam the galaxies, nursing interspecies vendettas and getting screwed. Through a series of non-linear episodes, we follow the misadventures of Mittens (Mar Warner) and Socks (Belle Decker), friends since their first day as cadets at Star Cat Academy.
With the feline protagonists dressed in gray jumpsuits, removable tails, furry ears and painted mustaches, production design by Tiffany Keane Schaefer (who also directs) and makeup design by Darlene Pham recall space ballsMel Brooks 1987 star wars parody. Kittens in space usurps a range of franchises, not only star warsbut also star trek, IndianaJones, and Doctor Who– with its own brand of pet-inspired puns and adult humor.
The six-person cast fully engages in the show’s most ridiculous plot twists with hilarious results. Warner and Decker play each other well, the former’s deadpan delivery contrasting with the latter’s frenetic energy. Ian Vytlacil stands out in several roles, including a crack-using mouse named Twitchy and Kitler, an overbearing cat who wears a whiskered Darth Vader mask. Cat lovers — or anyone who’s ever spoiled a pet — will feel seen by Lilly Bolduc and Stephanie Lee Bourgeois’ portrayal of overly enthusiastic cat moms.
This adults-only production seats just a few dozen people at each performance, with a handful of front-row cocktail tables — so get there a little early, step out into the lobby, grab a weed-themed mojito at chat and get ready to “live nine lives and prospurrr.