I will be brief, because the show being reviewed is brief. It would, to be fair, be quite ridiculous for a show called Superman and Me to proceed at a pedestrian pace. Lois’ (Tracey Ann Wood) refreshing practical nature and lack of sentimentality combine with the self-contradictions and attempts at romance by Clark (Paul Giddings) to provide a short but absorbing play. Let it be said that Lois’ surname is not necessarily Lane and Clark’s not necessarily Kent, and references to flying around the world could just as feasibly be interpreted as totting up air miles on scheduled flights from those citadels called airports, as – well, being ‘Superman’.
I am reminded once more of the reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival who found himself sat behind another reviewer. This second reviewer wrote something in his notebook before the show had even started, and, with nothing substantial about the set to write home about, the first reviewer, out of curiosity, peered over to steal a glance at what the second had written: Chairs. Here, a chair for each character are the only pieces of set. No props. Just the acting, the script and some lighting cues. Oh, and the debatably obligatory theme tune music to open proceedings with.
Despite the show’s title there is little mention of superhero activity, but the underlying knowledge of Clark’s other life gives the impression that what we’re seeing isn’t real. It isn’t, anyway, of course, but this distancing from reality allows the audience to feel guilt-free in finding humour in subjects that would not ordinarily be amusing.
Both characters are inhibited to a degree by the other ever-present. While there are asides to the audience, we are either mercifully spared or unfortunately denied longer soliloquies; my personal view is that further depth to the play could be realised by having moments of having only one character on stage. As it is, there’s a feeling that both characters are in a metaphorical straitjacket, or at least hiding their true emotions. The ending, when it came, was unexpected, if most abrupt, leaving so many unresolved issues. I might have guessed it was only the interval had the applause not been accompanied by the customary bows.
This is a piece of theatre that feels incomplete, and while I am all for leaving the audience wanting more over overstaying one’s welcome, there is also such a thing as feeling slightly short-changed. That said, I was never bored by it, and when it was amusing it was genuinely funny. A thoughtful and credible production.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Lois and Clark are an average married couple wondering what happened to their once picture perfect relationship. Superman & Me takes an uncompromising look at coupledom and how the myths of love and romance pedalled by popular culture and traditional gender role expectations keep us clinging to the fairy tale of happy ever after.
Directed by Eloise Lally
Co-Director, Whistleblower, The Story of Edward Snowden, Waterloo East Theatre.
OFFIE nominated for Best Direction
Written by Suzette Coon