As someone who was reading classic DC and Marvel comic books before the members of this production were born, I see the affection in their staged readings of actual comic stories in Superheroes Who Are Super! Unfortunately, I don’t really feel the love in these comic renditions by Philadelphia’s Save The Day Productions.
Actors who really loved these stories would not be so dependent upon the scripts on the stands in front of them and would spend more time working on their dialogue. Directors who really loved the stories would find more ways to incorporate comic business and props into the performances, while at the same time respecting the meaning of these works to generations of fans.
Instead, the opening night performance of a comic book featuring Superman and Spiderman against Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor and another involving the origin of Wonder Woman seemed mostly half-hearted. The first story depended too much on the appeal of a couple of poorly fitting super hero outfits for laughs in a story hard to translate to the stage (although I did like the use of “Silly String” for Spiderman’s web). The post-intermission Wonder Woman was a mild improvement, thanks to a nice lead performance by Victoria Frings and the greater comic use of props.
Later Fringe performances will feature stories about Batman and the X-Men (separate shows) from the group’s rotating repertoire. Let’s hope that these shows are more willing to go for real comedy instead of just giving exaggerated performances that too often just seem bad. Also, amidst the attempted fun, it would be nice to tone down the humor for moments to let the story have a little feeling and importance instead of playing everything at the same speed.
As for me, I’m just going to see if I can find a recording of the old Batman television episodes that I loved as a kid. Amidst the cheesy actions sequences (Bam!—Pow!—Wham!) were stories presented to amuse and entertain in ways that are mostly missing from Superheroes Who Are Super!
Superheroes Who Are Super!
Produced by Save The Day Productions
Reviewed by Steven McKnight
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?