This summer's clutch of blockbuster popcorn-bait has been dominated by the four colour heroes of the comic book. The Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, Judge Dredd - these figures loom large in our 'cultural' landscape. Yet they've mostly been rebooted, reinterpreted and reinvented so many times before that it's hard to work out where they started out.
'Full Stage Splash' attempts to give us this background by packing the entire history of comics into one packed hour. And it is PACKED, working from one scene to the next at a frantic pace, Golden Age into Silver into Bronze with barely a breath between.
You have to hand it to the troupe - they know their stuff. The muddied origins of the format in the pre- and post-war years are explored very thoroughly as are the influences that affected the popularity of various genres over the years. And with the academic tone of the show the jokes are surprisingly high-brow, if a little obscure. My particular favourite scene, though, was their depiction of the brat-pack artists like Todd Macfarlane and Rob Liefeld as moody, spoilt teens (a pretty fair assessment)
The problem here is one of focus. Though there's a lot packed into the show, there's a lot missing too and some things elaborated on which should perhaps have been left out. For example, the multiple worlds of the DC universe are the subject of a long, involved sketch while the important influence of the British scene, with publications such as 2000AD and writers like Gaiman and Moore is touched on very lightly if at all.
The humour is also somewhat hit-and-miss. And while sideways jokes about the freakish proportions and overly ornate costumes of Rob Liefeld characters are perfectly valid, they hit an uneasy balance between impenetrable for the uninitiated and cliched for those in-the-know.
It's a delicate balance to strike, producing comedy about a relatively niche interest but The Sigil Club strike the balance well. Funny and oddly educational if a little over-nerdy.