Brave New Workshop Heads to a Scary Future in Mad Vax

Would you take medical advice from this group?

Would you take medical advice from this group?

While the Brave New Workshop is an equal opportunity offender, the political right takes the brunt of the blows in their latest piece, Mad Vax: Beyond Measledome.

Oh sure, the mother in the first sketch who refuses to treat her injured son with anything more than Feng Shui comes from the granola-eating left, but anti-vaxxers come from across the political spectrum. The rest of the characters who come in for a mocking, from climate-change deniers to those who profess intolerance in the name of religious freedom, are definitely from the right.

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All of this gets wrapped up in a plot that uses the latest Mad Max film as a framework and includes time travel, audience participation, and an epic finale that likely makes the most sense if you've seen the film (but is still a lot of fun to watch).

The show also features a somewhat fresh cast, as two new performers add to the ensemble. Heather Meyer and Ryan Nelson join in the fun, meshing fairly well with seasoned vets Bobby Gardner, Tom Reed, and Taj Ruler.

The fresh team, or maybe just the inspiration from Mad Max, dig into more straight-on pop culture satires than normal. There's a Star Trek bit (Nelson does a very good Shatner) where Scotty abandons his usual seat-of-the-pants engineering feats to use the power of faith to solve the problem (it doesn't end well for the Enterprise). Later on, the Magic School Bus takes a ride in the measles-riddled blood of one of their classmates (it doesn't end well for them, either).

It's the usual hit-and-miss stuff from Brave New Workshop, with the hits overwhelming the occasional bum bit, such as one where a marketing director works with the Centers for Disease Control to come up with a more scary name for the measles. The eventual name is funny, but the routine takes too long to get to the punch line.

All of that is forgotten in the final frantic minutes, as we get a 10-minute version of Mad Max: Fury Road, complete with a flame-throwing, er lighter lighting, "guitar guy." Mad Vax is a wild ride from start to finish, even if it may ruffle a few political feathers.


Mad Vax: Beyond Measledome Through August 1 Brave New Workshop 824 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis $25-$36 For tickets and more information, call 612-332-6620 or visit online.>