Photo: Richard Termine

Created and performed by James Godwin

Blending elements of speculative fiction, film noir, mysticism and social satire, this inventive performance piece provides a fresh, energetic take on the well-travelled genre of dystopian lit.

Using puppets, projections and a host of intriguing props and costumes, performer/creator James Godwin takes us on a journey through the mean streets of NYORG. A none-too-pleasant future version of Manhattan, NYORG is constantly under threat from impending megastorms. The only way to keep the city safe is to use “meat computers’ (mainframes built from living tissue), to predict weather patterns. Wylie Walker, the show’s Raymond Chandler-esque narrator, has an unusual day job. He’s a professional shaman: basically a metaphysical mechanic who performs exorcisms on malfunctioning organic machines. His father was in the business, too, until an “accident” caused his untimely death. Not the most experienced member of the crew, Wylie is usually given mundane tasks. But when the company’s top man falls ill, Wylie is called upon to tackle an important assignment. He finds himself missing a crucial piece of equipment, and the procedure goes catastrophically wrong. This leaves Wylie with few allies and a lot of questions. What happened to the missing key? Who would want to sabotage the exorcism? And most crucially, how can the city’s immune system be restored before the storm hits? With the time running out, our hero embarks on an odyssey that takes him to from a corrupt mayor’s office to a magical sewer, a digital afterlife, and beyond.

Godwin displays remarkable vocal dexterity and boundless energy as he transforms into a host of human, subhuman, ectoplasmic and folkloric characters. He is aided by Jay Ryan’s lighting design, which eases the story’s transitions through time and space, and gives an added punch to the show’s visual style. The quest-driven script is leavened with generous dollops of comedy, but Godwin and co-writer/director Tom Burnett aren’t out to create a spoof. Their humor comes from the sheer joy of getting inside the genres they love. Though it could stand tightening in a few spots, THE FLATIRON HEX still delivers as thrilling a ride – and better special effects- than most Hollywood blockbusters have to offer.

THE FLATIRON HEX continues through May 30th at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets, New York, New York, Tickets:, For upcoming performances and master classes by James Godwin, visit

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