Music, video, comedy and theatre? A physical performance and an eBook? Attempting to tackle the subject of the apocalypse? From reading the show description of ‘The Flood’, you might be led to conclude that Superbard has bitten off a little more than he can chew. Happily, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘Superbard: The Flood’ is a deeply accomplished and thoroughly charming show from an impressively polymath performer. George ‘Superbard’ Lewkowicz holds the audience in his hand throughout this multimedia, multi-character account of the last days of the human race. Seen through the eyes of characters such as Graham, the conspiracy-hunting geek; Andy, the synth-musician searching for faith; and the woefully socially-inept ‘Boss’, whose pedantic prophecies of the conflagration to come fall on deaf ears, the audience gets to piece together the events leading up to the aquatic apocalypse.
All of these characters, all of their stories, are recounted by Superbard himself, who manages to imbue each one with a degree of charm. Each of these tales comes with supporting audio-visual work, whether that’s an animation of a deep-space computer game or the chilling sight of Brixton slipping slowly beneath the waves. There’s also the occasional ‘celebrity guest’ (see if you can guess the comedian voicing God), and the odd piece of highly enjoyable audience participation.
My only real criticism (bar of a slightly-forced satirical version of ‘The Animals Went In Two-by-two’) is that, for all his skill, Superbard has given himself a little too much to juggle in this one-man show. Whilst the pace rarely drops, his need to stay on top of so many technical aspects and switch so quickly between speech, song and animation can be distracting, and get in the way of the excellent rapport he has with the audience. This is frustrating as small structural changes - such as learning the script and removing the iPad/ notebook that lies between Lewkowicz and his audience - would allow Superbard to make the most of his show’s greatest asset: himself.
These niggles, though minor, prevent true perfection. Nonetheless, this is a lovely show - sad at some moments, sweet at others, but consistently engaging and entertaining.