Comic book fans and comic book movie fans will find much delight in The Incredible Hank by New Millennium Theatre Company. Set in the fictional (yet eerily recognizable) city of Sandicago, The Incredible Hank highlights a world of superheroes and supervillains but focuses on a humble file clerk named Hank, who just so happens to have super strength. But the catch is, he has no desire to use his powers for anything other than moving filing cabinets around. He doesn’t want to spend his days stopping bank robberies and fighting bad guys.
Just like some superheroes who just want to live a normal life (this gave me some Buffy feels), he is thrust into the action rather accidentally and joins forces with his superpower-lacking, yet extremely goofy friend to defeat the kinda, sorta evil that rocks Sandicago.
While the stage and set were modest, every inch of space was used and every creative method was employed to show us the action. The use of puppets was genius, but also adorable. And I’m impressed by the small cast, many of whom played a few different characters throughout. I’m mainly just impressed by quick costume changes in any show because I fall over just putting pants on at a normal speed. Anyway, the cast was fun, the characters were interesting. Some fell into the usual comic book stereotype, but I thought that worked in their favor and added to the humor.
I only wish we had spent more time with Hank himself and got to learn a little more about him. His background, his life outside of file clerking, etc. I feel like I knew more about the villains and Hank’s bestie than him. But when he had the opportunity to show his stuff, he took it!
I would also mention that this play was quite timely and added some interesting commentary on our tumultuous political times. And it wasn’t too in-my-face to make me think the writer had an agenda but it definitely gave me pause enough to consider the implications of what was happening.
Unless you have a heart of stone or someone zapped your funny bone, The Incredible Hank is sure to illicit a chuckle or two out of you. Maybe even a full-blown guffaw. I certainly laughed and enjoyed myself once I opened myself to this world.
Written and directed by founding company member Alex B. Reynolds, The Incredible Hank will run May 19th through June 24th, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm with Sunday matinees at 3:00pm. There will be no matinee performances on opening and closing weekend. Performances take place at The Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted St.). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through The Royal George. For more information or to purchase tickets, you can also visit nmtchicago.org.