SUPERHEROES WHO ARE SUPER is one of two reader’s theatre style productions currently playing in the Skinner Studio at Plays and Players in Philadelphia. (The other, the Hear Again Radio Project, will be the subject of another review next week.) SUPERHEROES is a staged reading of a classic comic book, complete with (intentionally) cheesy costumes and special effects.
The performance I attended did a reading of Justice League of America #1, written by Gardener Fox in the 1960’s. (Side note…I was a huge comic book fan in the 60’s, and remember reading this particular issue!) Actors Sean Close, Ray Fallon, Michael McElroy and Liz So read and acted out all of the actions of the characters, good and bad, switching costumes on the fly, sometimes back and forth in a scene as a couple of their characters were appearing concurrently. They were ably assisted by narrator Rachel Gluck and lighting/sound technician (uncredited) who kept things moving along beautifully.
As you might expect from the name, this is an hour of silliness…and wonderful silliness it is. The actors are having fun with this production (sometimes TOO much fun) but when they get off-kilter, a clever ad-lib allows them to get back on track. The pace is swift, as befits an adventure story that was written with multiple cliffhangers. I loved some of the “special effects”, especially the use of a lunch-size container of pudding to portray a tar pit AND squid ink respectively, which Wonder Woman (Ms. So) had to “reluctantly” have her hand forced into. Director Daniel Student deserves kudos for obviously having respect for the material, yet the vision to find ways to poke loving fun at these childhood icons. My companion was not a comics fan, but she enjoyed the show as much as I.
SUPERHEROES WHO ARE SUPER is part of the Philly Fringe, playing upstairs at the Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Tickets are $12, and available through the Fringe ticket office or online at livearts-fringe.org. The show is family-friendly (although I was told that if there are no children in the audience, the show has a more bawdy edge.) Shows are Saturdays and Sundays at 7 and 9 PM. After a day of watching the “serious” Fringe offerings, this is the perfect way to wind down, relax and have a few super-laughs.
SUPERHEROES WHO ARE SUPER
September 2-17 (Saturday And Sunday Only)
Plays and Players, Sullivan Stage
1714 Delancey Place
Philadelphia, PA 19103