Brothers grow apart all the time, of course, but in Banana Bag & Bodice’s zonky extravaganza Space//Space they literally evolve in different directions, while continuing to share close quarters. As Lumus (Craig) and Penryn (Jelliffe) hurtle through the universe in a spaceship, they look like test subjects in some jokey metal laboratory: Dressed head to toe in plushie-style fur suits, they fetch sandwiches from a mysterious hatch and suck blue liquid from the spout of a bottle on the wall. Lumus keeps busy by playing LPs on a phonograph and delivering stand-up routines into a handheld microphone. (Everything they do is being recorded.) Penryn, on the other hand, is prone to long naps—in the time-warped zone of their ship, these can last for years—the latest of which he has emerged from with a female body and little memory of how he and his brother wound up where they are.
The nature of the science in question is fuzzy, and introductory remarks to the audience by a third person (Peter Blomquist) prove utterly unhelpful in explaining it. But a trajectory appears in Craig’s tale of lonely people stuck on a sphere, jetting through an indifferent cosmos: Lumus begins to decay, Penryn slips the surly bonds of technology, and Space//Space enacts a postpostmodern allegory of reversion to fleshly reality. What saves the piece from obviousness is the granular weirdness of the components in Mallory Catlett’s staging: the makeshift retro-futurist set, the poker-faced commitment of the actors, the multiple interludes of comedy and music. Jelliffe, who has a remarkable singing voice, at one point breaks out in a snatch of Edith Piaf’s “Milord”; such moments of mysterious experimentalism go a long way toward keeping you in the show’s elliptical orbit.—Adam Feldman
Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam