Embarking into interactive theater can be a risk for the attendee, as quite a few productions struggle to make the show not only interesting, but truly interactive as well. Wild Women of Planet Wongo tackles not only interactive theater but musical theater at that. It’s a hard sell for anyone who is not a fan of the genre like myself, but by the end of the night, I was all too happy to join in the Wongo Wuau with the whole crew.
The story is simple: two delivery men crash-land on a planet inhabited solely by women– it’s everyone’s dream! Unfortunately for Ric and Louie, though, it quickly turns into a nightmare as they discover their fate amongst the Wongettes is not exactly what they hoped for.
Parkside Lounge sets the mood as you walk through the bar to the back staging area where the show experience takes place. As your coat is taken, you’re encouraged to partake in the strongly made Wongotini, a themed drink for the show. I’m a sucker for themed drink, and it was a fun addition that nearly all attendees went for.
The venue is small; it makes you wonder just how a whole musical show will take place. The answer is simple– you are the show. From the opening scene when we are introduced to Ric and Louie, the whole audience is drawn into the story. It doesn’t feel awkward at all when the Wongettes come onto the scene and draw us in. Being included makes it all the easier to shift around the stage when a scene change comes into play.
Even with two intermissions, the action of the story doesn’t stop during the break. The first intermission had Wongette 257 lead us through a ‘Wongo Weaponwy Wesson’, where three chosen girls get a chance to learn how to abuse a man slave properly. The winner becomes an honorary Wongette, hair and all! Her prize occurs during the second intermission when she got to chose her man slave amongst the eligible bachelors.
I don’t want to give too much away of the story; it’s something you have to experience on your own. As someone who is very picky with interactive theater and musicals, I was surprised by how much fun I had. It’s a real testament to old school sci-fi storytelling that you don’t see anymore. The music is so catchy I guarantee by the end you’ll be doing the Wongo Wuau just like the rest of us.
One of the big draws to this show is how flawlessly the actors and actresses handle the change in dialog. It’s interactive theater, after all, so no two shows will be the same. On top of that, across the board, everyone’s vocals were top notch.
After the show, I had the pleasure of talking to a couple of the actors and actresses who play Ric, Louie, and a couple of the Wongettes about their time on the show. By talking to them, you can clearly hear their enthusiasm for the show.
Drawn to the posting on Backkstage.com for a new interactive theater, the reason they were chosen is clear: strong vocals and the ability to work off each other in the heat of the moment are just a couple of the many talents they display. When I asked what makes a good scene partner, as they must rely on each other, the quick answer that came is someone who is able to react to any mistakes and cover seamlessly. If any happened that night I couldn’t tell; I assumed everything that happened was part of the script!
This talented group left me with these words that described the night perfectly. Attending Planet Wongo is a chance to escape from reality and have a genuinely good time.
If you’re in New York and want to enjoy your weekend, you can book tickets to Wild Women of Planet Wongo here, until it’s final run on March 18th!