Superfluous

Superfluous is a show with plenty of energy, enthusiasm and warmth, but a lack of more fundamental theatrical skills means it falls flat.

Given the sense of camaraderie in the cast combined with just how poor some of the performances are, my suspicion is that this is primarily a friend group rather than a theatre group.

The show tells the story of a newly formed superhero team assembled by mad scientist, Professor H, to track down a supervillain named Doctor Charm. There are in-team rivalries, bits of romance and some wry looks at the 1950s comic book tradition.

The main problem with the show is that it’s essentially a light-hearted comedy and most of the jokes don't work. Bar a few exceptions, this audience just didn't laugh. It’s easy to see where the jokes are, but sloppy timing or bungled execution mean it's rarely possible to find them funny. This is a shame, because the script contains some nice observational humour and good opportunities for slapstick.

The performances are not strong for the most part. They range from the actually bad (muddling up lines and failing to recover in a professional manner; a truly terrible American accent), through to the basically competent. Given the sense of camaraderie in the cast combined with just how poor some of the performances are, my suspicion is that this is primarily a friend group rather than a theatre group. There are a few exceptions: Efi Gauthier's Titanium is a cut above the rest. She presents her character convincingly and has some genuinely funny moments. Thomas Marshall's Mercury is also worthy of note: he has good comic timing and usually does the material justice.

Though this is basically a silly play, it does have one serious strain about homoerotic subtext in comics. It's a problem familiar to every modern comic book reader - comics will often allude to homosexual relationships between their characters without having the guts to actually write in any gay couples. It’s definitely a good thing that this is addressed here, but the payoff feels decidedly lukewarm. Considering this is the only actual point they try to make, it’s a great shame that they lack the courage to make it with gusto.

Every aspect of this is a production shows the play it could have been. However, at present, the blurb offers far more than the show is able to deliver.

Reviews by Grace Knight

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The producers of Piracy! ‘Bucketloads of silliness in this thoroughly entertaining hour’ (FringeReview.co.uk) and Titus, ‘A bloody awesome production’ **** (EdinburghSpotlight.com), bring you this action-packed superhero comedy, freshly minted from classic comics. Dastardly Professor Charm's seductive schemes for Anytown USA leave no one safe from his salacious shenanigans. But never fear – the mysterious Professor H is assembling a crack company of powerful, amazing and ... slightly deranged costumed crusaders to save the day. Will our heroes overcome dark pasts, professional rivalry and romantic entanglements to defeat this lascivious lawbreaker? Find out in this thrilling edition of Superfluous!