George Lewkowicz’s Superbard Starts to Save the World never quite finds its feet despite game attempts by the show’s creator to inject life into its rather confused narrative. Superbard centres itself around a simple choice – a man will choose to save the world or fall in love – but spends far too much time focusing on extraneous side-scenes and a rather muddled message about real and ‘Ben Elton’ versions of love to properly establish its core ideas.
Superbard gets some commendation for its faith in audience participation but these segments do not fit comfortably into the larger narrative, which never flows more smoothly than when Lewkowicz goes it alone. His storytelling makes pretty seamless use of the lighting and video effects of his own direction but more often than not he labours far too long over a fairly straightforward point. Given the substance of his material, the show could have easily been much shorter.
The basic idea behind Superbard is a noble one: we need to connect more with each other, be a little more kind to each other, and work to find love. In execution, however, Lewkowicz does not appear to have his argument entirely clear and by the end of the show seems to have contradicted himself entirely. Are Hollywood presentations of love to blame for our lack of connections, or are we not doing enough to make them a reality? Even more misguided is his tilt at presenting the Fringe as the Platonic ideal of people failing to interact. His exhortation that the audience go and do likewise is largely unearned, and built on some pretty fluffy ideas about love of his own.
Ultimately, Superbard Starts to Save the World is a decent idea that, despite a well-composed soundtrack and slick technical work, doesn’t live up to its broad imaginative scope.