Theater archives

Baby Universe Aims for the Stars


Who will save our galaxy? An evil (but dying) Sun has a long-term plan to devour all the planets, assisted by the Moon, Jupiter, Mercury, and other nefarious solar-powered henchmen. Earth has been abandoned by the few remaining humans, who desperately try to engineer new black holes and planetary systems from their bunkers in an unspecified location. Their only hope: Baby Universe, who must escape the Sun’s clutches, grow up, and spawn a new sphere before everything else gets wiped out.

The theater group Wakka Wakka (directed by Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock) builds magnetically visual scenes around Waage’s beautiful puppets—which include a brilliant oversize Sun with flashing yellow eyes and a long-legged Moon with cratered skin. Born in a lab, Baby Universe himself is an oddly compelling fish-like thing whose clownish antics turn heroic with age. Unfortunately, the ensemble’s narrative sometimes takes formulaic turns into Pixar-style melodrama and stays more convoluted than it needs to be. (Why the planets enjoy helping the Sun destroy the solar system never becomes clear, for example.) But apocalypse has a way of excusing the irrational; what counts most here is Wakka Wakka’s artful constellation of starring creatures. In Baby Universe, all the production elements float wonderfully adrift in an orbit of whimsy.