“The Clockwork Professor” at Theatre off Jackson

Poor Professor Pemberton, he’s trying so hard just to get by, but, when he has to deal with beings from an alternate universe, his own dark secrets, and the evil machinations of Dr. Balthazar Higgins, life gets terribly complicated.

Directed by Amy Poisson, this world premiere of “The Clockwork Professor” brings local playwright Maggie Lee’s science fiction a la steampunk play to charming realization. The cleverly designed set by Robin Macartney offers different or altered dimensions with its silhouetted radio announcer who is both far and near, and the space-defying floor. Samantha Armitage’s adroit costumes and David Baldwin’s lighting meet all the demands of the now and then, and the here and there.

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Randall Brammer and Brad Walker

Brad Walker as the Professor is the right mixture of dorky earnestness. He needs all his wits when the scheming, megalomaniacal Balthazar Higgins (evil incarnate as played by Phillip Keiman) tries to pry key information from the Professor (as well as the key to the alternate universe portal).

The entire cast deserves praise for the acting, but special mention must be made of Randall Brammer, the jester of the piece, though not in jester costume, and Karissa Samples and Sascha Streckel as the two male robots. Oh yes, male robots who move mechanically as they carry out their nefarious tasks, and in the process are terribly funny.

Pork Filled Productions, an Asian American theatre group, is “determined to redefine the notion of what Asian American theatre is capable of.” This isn’t ethnic theatre. It’s just fine theatre. So, if you have any interest in science fiction, or you just want something a bit different, give this a try.

Through Aug. 3 at Theatre Off Jackson, 409 7th Ave. S., Seattle; (206 486-0375 or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/343229) or info@porkfilled.com.

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