Although the South Coast Musical Theatre's production of "Revenge of the Space Pandas" at University High's Irvine Little Theatre is a cartoonish muddle, it is of some interest--chiefly because its playwright is Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet.
Mamet, known for razor-edged humor and strong language in such adult plays as "American Buffalo" and "Glengarry Glen Ross," also wrote this lightweight saga of 12-year-old Binky Rudich and his adventures on the planet Crestview.
With panda aliens, a movie-mad dictator, a smart-aleck jester, an actor on the skids and a camera-conscious newscaster, "Pandas" is like one of those rambling bedtime stories you spin out for your child, throwing in bits of satiric nonsense to keep yourself interested.
Binky's (Eliam Kraiem) two-speed clock invention sends him and friends Vivian and Bob the Sheep (Nicole Odekirk and Karl Stenske) into outer space. They land on Crestview and find themselves in jeopardy: Supreme Ruler George Topax (Michael Wardner) wants to make a letter sweater out of Bob's wool and then dispatch the three by whacking them on the head with a giant pumpkin.