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Theater review: Bears in Space at 59E59 Theaters

Adam Feldman

True to its name, Bears in Space is about bears: bears that are in space. Yet Eoghan Quinn’s larkish comedy, part of the Origin’s 1st Irish Festival, is basically down to earth; it wants only to amuse, and it does so very appealingly. A tetchy narrator, the Story Keeper (Cameron Macaulay), plays guitar in the corner as his three dim sons use threadbare—threadbear?—puppets, costumes and props to play all the roles in a tale of ursine astronauts (the amiable Quinn and the versatile Aaron Heffernan) who emerge from cryogenic hibernation to face off against a cowardly boy-king from the planet Metrotopia.

The villain is played with peevish gusto by Jack Gleeson, who was the poisonous Joffrey in Game of Thrones, but this is not a one-star show; it’s a constellation—Ursa Minor?—where everyone gets a chance to shine. Quinn holds the center as a Slavic-accented polar bear with a mysterious past and an even less certain future. Heffernan, who also designed the shaggy puppets, does a range of wacky accents (including Scottish and Mexican ones), and Gleeson doubles as a socially awkward computer and a maniacal cannibal. Amid the colorful side characters, dopey-clever jokes and sci-fi goofery, a few lessons are eventually learned about friendship and courage, but it’s all in silly, adorable fun. Bear it and grin.

59E59 Theaters (Off Broadway). By Eoghan Quinn. Directed by Dan Colley. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 15mins. Through Oct 2. Click here for full venue and ticket information.

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam

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