Wild Pecos Bill, ComedySportz. Like many kids of his generation, my father spent most of his Saturday afternoons at the movies, watching the latest adventures of cowboys like Red Ryder and Hopalong Cassidy. Each week these heroes of the old west faced death at the hands of bad guys and wild animals, relying not on otherworldly superpowers but on their own common sense and machismo to pull them through. Director Steph DeWaegeneer tries to re-create these matinee exploits by staging scenes from the life of the legendary Pecos Bill (Dave Flick), a low-down, dirty cowpoke raised by coyotes who’s tough enough to wrestle rattlesnakes and cyclones but soft enough to fall for Sweet Sue (Lauren Bishop).

ComedySportz is promoting its first foray into children’s theater as “appropriate for the whole family.” Moralitywise this is correct, but it’s doubtful these shenanigans would engage anyone over the age of seven. As in the cowboy classics of old, a certain predictability is to be expected. But even in the most formulaic film short, the villains were formidable and there was always that riveting moment when the hero’s fate was not absolutely certain. In adapter R. Eugene Jackson’s silly string of misadventures, Pecos Bill tromps one brain-dead adversary after another, leaving this unfortunate troupe of capable storytellers to rely on cheap gags like shoot-outs with banana guns to keep things lively. And for crying out loud, get some real boots! What kind of cowboy wears mukluks or Hush Puppies?

–Kim Wilson