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Critic's Choice

Review: 'Hearts Like Fists' unleashed at Theatre of NOTE

August 09, 2012|By Charlotte Stoudt
  • Alina Phelan, from left, Jennifer Lee Weaver and Alysha Brady in "Hearts Like Fists" at Theatre of NOTE.
Alina Phelan, from left, Jennifer Lee Weaver and Alysha Brady in "Hearts… (Mandi Moss )

Batman and Bane, move over. A trio of buxom superhero babes is taking names and kicking butt in “Hearts Like Fists,” Adam Szymkowicz’s graphic novel come to irresistible life at Theatre of NOTE.

Masked and booted like renegade wrestlers, the Crimefighters (Alysha Brady, Alina Phelan, and Jennifer Lee Weaver) have dispatched their share of villains, but one nemesis eludes them. Maniacal Doctor X  (Keith Allan) roams the city with giant hypodermic needles, killing happily entwined lovers as they sleep. For the recently jilted Doctor, endless love means never having to wake up, look over and discover The One has skipped town. The only person to survive an X attack is Lisa (Lauren Dobbins Webb), a femme fatale who falls for sensitive Doctor Peter (Rick Steadman), at work on an artificial heart to replace his vulnerable original.

OK, the metaphors aren’t subtle. But what makes this show so much fun is its wham-bang delivery — of both comic-book action and delicious one-liners (Dr X: “It’s so hard to talk to people when they can talk back”). In director Jaime Robledo’s sharp production — which references everything from Dr. Caligari to “Kick-Ass” — feet and lethal weapons fly, thanks to Andrew Amani’s witty fight choreography, perfectly synced with Mark McClain Wilson’s sound design and Matt Richter’s lighting. Allan, brilliant as our mad scientist, heads a winning cast that underplays with deadpan cool (with the exception of Grace Eboigbe’s adorably giddy nurse).

Staged for what is surely less than Christopher Nolan’s weekly tea budget, “Hearts Like Fists” is the perfect summer date show: exhilarating, nerdy-sexy, and silly-smart. Try finding that on Fandango.

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“Hearts Like Fists,” Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Sept. 1. $25. (323) 856-8611 or www.theatreofnote.com. Running time: 2 hours. 

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