There is great good fun to be had at Ixion Ensemble’s “Begets” – providing you can find it (see below). This show completes the Qui Nguyen trilogy (She Kills Monsters, Fight Girl Battleworld) which celebrates the triumphs of female martial arts, here seen as a samurai template fitted over the fiefdoms of a typical suburban High School.
Our protagonist is Emily (Storm Kopisch), an Invisible Girl who rises to become Shogun through a desire for justice and a devastating knack for martial arts, shadowed at every step by her tough-talking Inside Girl (Jillian Tosolt) who is sometimes surprisingly at odds with Emily’s actual persona.
Speaking of surprises, there are more than a few to be had among the various boyfriends and girlfriends (really?) who pop up to populate this high-energy production.
The decidedly episodic but tightly-written script gives many familiar Ixion faces a chance to shine, however briefly; in no particular order:
*Cole Bennett, an hilariously pathetic nerd with a girlfriend you’ll never forget;
*Sara Frank-Hepfer as the spectacularly clueless woke principal;
*Tobin Bates in a shirt-off Taylor-Lautner-style love scene, remarkable in that he doesn’t look much like Mr. Lautner;
*Rachel Steffens as the ruthlessly domineering Older Sister who’ll stop at nothing to stay on top of the pecking order;
*Kris Vitols as the valiant Vice Principal who sadly believes that academic success should matter.
Kudos to Fight Choreographer Richard Kopitsch who has mixed in all the martial action the script requires, apparently with no injuries to anyone involved. Spectacular moves by Storm!
And now to the drama behind the scenes:
With barely a week to go before opening, Ixion’s performance space in the Lansing Mall became unavailable; but in a neat piece of theater magic, the show has transferred to an otherwise-unnamed space just west of downtown Grand Ledge. 908B West Jefferson which is not really marked, just before Fitzgerald Park. On the south side of Jefferson is the Grand Ledge Ravines Mobile Home Park; you will turn north, directly across, at the sign which says, “Deep Kneads Therapeutic Massage” and the performance space is at the far northwest corner of that building. (For better or worse, it is not in an actual massage parlor.)
You should arrive early as we are told the seating capacity is 47 and last night “Begets” had no trouble attracting a nearly-full house.
Whatever the plan was, “Begets” is cheerfully low-tech in its presentation, with faux-strobe lights and banners which apparently move and fall of their own accord. But the show works, and well, as one of the sleeper surprises of this season.
RESERVE TICKETS AT https://www.onthestage.tickets/show/ixion-ensemble/63b6d06bf94f12350f796934 Tickets at the door while they last, but SMALL venue, so reservations highly recommended.
Daddy Long Legs Returns for One Weekend Only
Speaking of unusual performance spaces with limited capacity — Don't miss Peppermint Creek's revival of the excellent musical DADDY LONG LEGS, a love story in the style of Jane Eyre and Downton Abbey, presented at Bestsellers Books & Coffee, 360 S Jefferson, Mason. Tickets are available now for the limited revival run of three shows next weekend, March 24 - 26, with show times Friday and Saturday at 7pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Reserve tickets at https://peppermintcreek.org/event/daddy-long-legs/ and plan to arrive early, as it is general seating.