Review: Super

Tom Bevan 13 June 2015

Superheroes, teenagers, the modern world: it is a tried and tested formula, following the likes of Misfits. However the inception of Eli Keren’s play, Super is a good one, and there are some funny jokes and touching moments. It is perhaps therefore in the misjudged length of the play, and in the slightly-overwrought feeling which leads this production to glimmer, but not quite not shine.

The lead-roles are well-cast, with each of the actors inhabiting the characters to the best of their abilities – Beth Dubow as the bumptious goodie-two-shoes and Abigail Smith as the off-hand Celeritas – however it is Allum-Gruselle who performs to greatest effect, with fantastic comic timing and over-acting, coupled with an effortless nonchalance which ensures he is a stand out actor in this production.

Though there were some funny moments and time rarely passed without a joke, punch-lines were often lacking or left-hanging, while one audience member’s mis-timed outburst of hilarity at one of the more serious turns of the play provided the most hefty laugh of the evening. There was inventive writing and a clever mix of the comic and the tragic, however this was not developed to its fullest extent and too often felt like surface-material, while clichéd lines and phrases appeared with worrying regularity.

A further issue with this play is simply its length. Occupying the ‘late show’ slot at the ADC is a mixed-blessing, allowing for a certain atmosphere, however the audience is there for the taking, and unfortunately Super does not really ‘take’. However much nodding-off in the audience was due to the time of performance, it was arguably exasperated by production issues as the stage manager’s voice could unfortunately be heard throughout the entire performance.

At the play’s heart is a good-natured and quirky theatrical event, and the production was not difficult to sit-through or objectionable. Nevertheless, excepting the merits of Allum-Gruselle and other members of the cast, this play offers little to draw students away from the already incredibly busy run-up to May Week.