Talk about a cartoon.
This production is nothing but - from the characters made famous in the comic strip and on the television screen, to the endless series of groaners - it's anything but serious.And that's all right because generally that's what an Off Broadway audience is expecting, especially when Eric Jensen is both the lead character and the writer.
It's fun to see Jensen take on the rubber arms and gravelly sound of the Popeye persona. It's something new.
He makes it work without harming the integrity of this one-dimensional hero who performs at his best when plied with spinach.
The bit thrown in about the various effects of a number of vegetables on his strength and body is a killer.
Sheryl Killpack, filling the large shoes of Olyve Voil's character, has obviously watched enough of the old cartoon. She has the movements, the squeaks, and the expressions down to a fine art. She's a versatile talent.
Merrill Dodge, playing Bruno, is recognizable as the big bully constantly after Olyve and doing his best to catch Pop-Eyed off balance.
Steve Harmon makes a great Mama and an even better Sweety Baby waving his tiny arms from his perch in the moving bassinet.
Cody Carlson starts off slower but steadily builds a solid character out of Blimpy, and Jenn Porter as Barbie is the original dumb blond every Off Broadway comedy needs.
But Robert Bogue steals the stage with his sidekick role as Bart.
If he's not whining and fretting like a spoiled child, he's cajoling and ad-libbing until what's been stretched from reality has become hilarious.
He is out of control.
And so is the production. There's no stopping the bad jokes and the local punneries: "I'd rather date Rod Decker than you!" "Three tickets to Happyville? I'm going to Provo!" "He's coming home from a `Moreman' mission as more of a man!"
The costuming is absolutely right. Olyve's shoes are huge. Her mama is dressed in identical red and black skinny clothes.
The set is right out of a comic strip. The essential props include a carryover from the last show, "Paint By Numbers" in the D'amore Diamonds and some Titanic moments.
The brief bits of song included are a lot of fun -"Master of the Plan" instead of "Master of the House" and "Olyve My Love" instead of "All of My Life."
Numerous bits have been set up that work well despite the fact that you can see them coming (Will Bogue gets splashed when he throws Pop-Eyed into the ocean).
Of course, the best parts come when someone misses a cue or - as it happened in an opening weekend performance - gets smacked in the eye, and everybody has to ad-lib. The spontaneous dancing in the dark during scene changes soon becomes a highlight, too.
Off Broadway actors are famous for their quick pickups and adaptions. No place else can make walking through the wrong stage door so much a part of the script.
And there's no end to the energy.
Jensen has done a good job of spoofing here and, unless you mind your face aching later on from all the smiling, put this one on the list of shows to see.