Like the Justice League meets The Office, Sidekicks imagines the everyday drudgery of being a superhero—and the particular travails of playing second fiddle to the big shots. Set in a land called New Cascadia, evoked by drawings of a lumpy Portlandia statue and a wonky-looking Hawthorne Bridge, these superheroes have had it easy recently. Sure, Vitality’s bar Dig a Power might be losing money, and the coffee mugs might be piling up in the office sink, but things have been fairly villain-free…until the evil Influencer and the Technolord hijack a pirated TV signal and inform the city of their evil plans. Action/Adventure Theatre has made its name on semi-scripted serial comedies (Fall of the House, Captured by Aliens, Fall of the Band) that unfold over several weeks, and much of Sidekicks proves why this scrappy troupe manages to sell out shows. Co-directors Pat Moran and Noah Dunham keep the action moving at a brisk clip, and the cast has energy and spunk: Katie Michels makes a great flying-squirrel wannabe, all stubbornly scrunched face and daffy delivery, and Nate Ayling has a bro-tastic turn as a clone who’s been programmed to party, rattling his body in unison with his cocktail shaker. But the ad-libbing, at least on April 5, was hit-or-miss, and opportunities for humor—particularly chances to jab at Portland or workplace dynamics—slipped by. For all their stage time, the superheroes weren’t as funny as their underlings. This mission might best be left to the lackeys.
SEE IT: Sidekicks is at Action/Adventure Theatre, 1050 SE Clinton St., actionadventure.org. 8 pm Thursdays-Sundays through April 27. $10-$15, Thursdays “pay what you will.”