Colin Mahan space opera awash in manic celebrity mashups 

Colin Mahan is the type of ambitious impressionist for whom nothing less than space itself is big enough to contain his celebrity imitations.

Spot-on impressions, music, movement and mayhem make up his one-man show of multiple personalities, “Ball Trap!: A Sci-Fi Space Opera!” onstage Sunday at the Shelton Theater in The City. His low-budget show – he calls it a “shoddyssey” – is a manic mash-up of rock musicals, science-fiction blockbusters and vintage road rally movies. Displaying vocal virtuosity and high energy, he sings and dances all the roles – in Spandex.

He morphs into Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, spoofing their portrayals of chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White and former student-addict Jesse Pinkman from TV’s “Breaking Bad.”

Mahan makes over Walter White into arch-villain Black White, creator of the addictive drug “crock” (comedy and rock), who hijacks the Spaceball Rally, a cross-galaxy space race. Good-guy Ace Stickman assembles an array of celebrities to perform song parodies as part of a human “guitarmada” to face off with the evil fleet on the race to the finish line.

“I set out to create a show that combines everything I like and things that I am good at, and then just blow it out and make it as loony and as saturated an experience as possible ... parodying a lot of genres and pop culture touchstones, with a subversive edge to it all,” says Mahan, a movie buff with a soft spot for sci-fi spectacles that flopped.

A Sacramento native, Mahan moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s to pursue his comedy career, deriving inspiration from Robin Williams and Weird Al Yankovic. He has parlayed his gift for mimicry into performing sound-alike voices for videogames and TV comedies, and has appeared in films.

In addition to mastering popular voices such as Tom Brokaw, Nicolas Cage, Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis, Mahan also does famous actors who often defy imitation, including Michael Douglas, Donald Pleasance, Owen Wilson, Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

Two local performers open the show: Frisco Fred offers a live video feed of his magic act, and standup comic Kurt Weitzmann presents a multimedia parade of San Francisco’s offbeat history.


Ball Trap!: A Sci-Fi Space Opera!

Where: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 28

Tickets: $30

Contact: (415) 882-9100,

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Pat Katzmann

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