I could never get high enough to understand “Tron, ” the 1982 movie that is basically a laser light show inside a computer. It featured weird costumes and doofy video-game theatrics. That’s all I know. And now, for the love of all things 1980s and kitsch, comes “Tran: The Atari Musical,” a show that is as semi-coherent as its inspiration. This is the latest project from the Scooty & JoJo Show (a.k.a. Scott Bradley and Jonny Stax), a team that generated big buzz last fall with “The Carpenters’ Halloween,” a show that spliced together John Carpenter’s slasher flick, the music of The Carpenters and Muppety puppets. With “Tran,” the puppets are back, and so is 1982, when “computers were confusing and scary,” and Commodore 64s were all the rage. Flynn (the Jeff Bridges character, played here with game spirit by Jefrey B. Wilkerson) is the human computer programmer who gets sucked inside the circuitry and joins forces with Tran, the tranny cyber-something, to do who knows what. Wilkerson has a vague Matthew Broderick quality, and as he stands there in his cropped leather jacket (love the jacket!) working on his computer to a hilariously incongruous manual typewriter sound effect, it’s like “War Games” and “Real Genius” rolled into one. In fact, I just saw “Hackers” recently, and even though it came out in 1995, I’m telling you, it qualifies as an eighties movie with all its faux hi-techiness. That’s the kind of thing that gets skewered here, along with eighties animation and trashy white unitards that come equipped with a penis drawn on the crotch; Tran’s has a big question mark. That’s funny. The show (written and directed by Bradley, who also plays Tran in a green wig the color of a McDonald’s shamrock shake) is like a runaway train—anything can happen, it feels, and mistakes are a good thing in an environment where extra points go for double entendres and a version of Styx’s “Renegade” somehow becomes a sing-along. Oddly, in a show like this, there are considerable dead spots. Less exposition, more Tran please. (Nina Metz)
At The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway. This production is now closed.