I could never have anticipated this.
When ‘The Adventures of Sharkman’, written and directed by Jasper Cresdee-Hyde and Jake Rose, premiered in May, I was hopeful but not optimistic that there would be a sequel to the masterful superhero parody. Oh, how wrong I was and oh, how glad I am to be wrong. ‘Sharkman: The God Project’ is every bit as thrilling as the original, but it stands as an accomplishment in its own right. If a radio play can be cinematic, ‘Sharkman: The God Project’ is a complete cinematic experience.
Written and directed by Cresdee-Hyde and featuring a returning central cast as well as a host of new heroes and villains, ‘Sharkman: The God Project’ meets Sharkman a few months after his return to superheroics. Far from a deadbeat dad, Sharkman is now the man of the moment, honoured at elegant receptions and even facing rumours of a presidential bid. The fate of Sharkman and his fellow superheroes, however, is not yet secure. Summoned to an assembly of heroes along with his entire family, Sharkman must confront not only his own identity but a power bigger than anything he’s encountered before.
Louis George’s return as Sharkman is a welcome one – his compelling voice-acting and sharp comedic timing is integral to our emotional investment in Sharkman. Also returning are Leila Lawrence as Zoey, Chani Merrell as Karen, Calum Macleod and James Rodgers as G-REG, and Clancy Peiris Jr as Seaweed Boy. It astonishes me that none of the scenes between this motley family unit were recorded in the same room – the remarkable chemistry between them drives the play. Also to be commended for their voice-acting are Jonathan Neary, Ryan Morgan, and Jago Wainwright, a deliciously villainous trio, and Anna Freeman, whose sonorous voice as The Oracle must be making Judi Dench shake in her boots.
A big part of what makes ‘Sharkman’ such an all-consuming experience is Thomas Field’s transcendent score coupled with Cresdee-Hyde and Louis Davies’s editing. I can’t get enough of this score – in my notes I have written ‘transformative’, ‘iconic’, and ‘so professional’ but it needs to be heard to be believed. Field, Cresdee-Hyde, and Davies are so skilled at creating spaces with sound. They take us from ‘a vast, huge, futuristic palace’ to a cave deep under the ocean seamlessly, without letting go of the sound gags that made the original ‘Sharkman’ so special – tune in for a jazzy piano rendition of the theme tune and the unmistakable sound of Sharkman punching a Nazi.
Cresdee-Hyde’s warm, witty storytelling gives ‘Sharkman: The God Project’ heart-breaking emotional depth. Slower-paced than the original, this instalment of ‘Sharkman’ takes time over the development of its characters and themes, striking a perfect balance between action, emotion, and humour that truthfully left me a changed person. If you enjoyed ‘The Adventures of Sharkman’ or you just want your soul to be removed from your body and put back in again, I cannot recommend this enough.
Oh, and I’m still a really, really big fan.