A one-handed show about making a one-handed show might be becoming a little passé at the Fringe but there is at least one final offering you should devour before you write the genre off. Nicola Wren returns to the Fringe with her autobiographical Superstar, the story of her past twenty-something years spent clawing for the appreciation of her four older siblings whilst also trying to stay out of the looming shadow of her international megastar brother, Chris Martin of Coldplay fame. It feels like a story you should have heard before, but haven’t, a gently poignant tales about families and celebrity.
Going to see this show is an absolute no-brainer
I’m a real sucker for a well-crafted one-person show. When a performer can take you on a whole journey by themselves, no stage-left exits, no flashy technical effects, I think it can create some of the most engaging theatre and Wren has certainly achieved this here. She opens the show peeking around a stage curtain (actually a clothes rail; excellent physical acting) expectantly waiting for her enlarged family to arrive. Chris Martin does not arrive, neither does Richard, Al or Roseanna. Her story flashes between the present – waiting impatiently for her family to arrive – and the past – a compilation of her greatest acting accomplishments spanning the local village show to her one blockbuster movie credit. She beautifully embodies the characters she seeks to represent. Her ‘mother-run-ragged-on-Christmas-day,’ her ‘precocious-theatre-child’, her ‘adorable-dancing-bunny’ are all a sumptuous treat.
It’s funny too. When she told her brother that she was writing the show he told her to make it funny, to hire a comedian to write it with her. I doubt she did, but she didn’t need it. The show had a charming humor to it, constant giggles ripping through the audience.
Going to see this show is an absolute no-brainer. Wren has crafted a gem that anyone can find beauty and meaning it – us having weird relationships with celebrity is almost as universal as us having weird relationships with our families. This has landed itself a firm spot in my favourites of the Fringe, not of just this year, but all time and I can’t wait to see what she does next.