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Soho Theatre, London

Fast-paced and intoxicatingly funny, it’s no surprise that after a sellout run at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe, Captain Amazing is back. Mark, or Captain Amazing (Mark Weinman), is a real life, modern day  (and part time) superhero – and he has the cape to prove it!

As Mark humorously relays the challenges facing any father who must juggle between his responsibility to tackle the Evil Man andput his daughter to bed on time, a delicate and compelling story takes motion, creating a production that is both witty and moving.

Much like the frames of a comic book strip, Alistair McDowall’s ingeniously endearing story is told through a series of snapshots. These span from Captain Amazing chatting up girls in clubs, to awkward dinners with Batman, where the nature of a true superhero proves to be divisive dinner conversation. All of these glimpses into superhero life are told spectacularly through Captain Amazing, whereby Weinman seamlessly transforms into neighboring characters. Weinman’s sheer ability to absorb his audience into a frenzy of quick and snappy exchanges is one of many brilliant components of Captain Amazing.

These swift transitions create a lively and engaging tempo, which are matched with a backdrop of childlike scribbles, (illustrations by Rebecca Glover), which suffice to create a multitude of settings and scenes from Captain Amazing’s story. This simplicity requires actor and illustration to work in tandem, which, whilst at first can feel rigid, soon enhance and support Weinman’s performance.

With the clever inclusion of these images, Captain Amazing envisions childhood creativity, where isolation and loneliness can be overcome through the power of imagination. Whilst we are never sure of the logistics of Amazing’s superhuman ability, his heroic stories disguise and detract from the painful and raw fragility of his human relationships.

McDowall has created a production that eloquently explores our need to escape and return to our childhood dreams, which often never leave us. Under Clive Judd’s direction this is a beautifully slick, heartwarming story of paternity and heroism, which reminds us of the power of language to create different worlds, and new adventures.

  • Comedy
  • By Alistair McDowall
  • Directed by Clive Judd
  • Performed by Mark Weinman
  • Soho Theatre, London
  • Until 4th May 2014 (after that at Live Theatre until 17th May
  • Time 19.00
  • Review by Martha Quigley
  • 18 April 2014

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