Posts Tagged ‘Craig Berry’

This was the third musical comedy I’d seen in London in eight days. Top price tickets for the other two, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and I Can’t Sing in the West End, are five times as much and though I enjoyed the other two, I can honestly say this was just as much fun. The belated UK premiere of Charles Strouse’s 1966 Broadway show (11 years before he wrote his big hit Annie) is a coup for Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre in Walthamstow, and yet another reason to justify this venue’s candidature for musical theatre indispensability.

The baddies in this particular Superman tale are atomic scientist Dr Abner Sedgwick, determined to destroy the world’s iconic goodie in revenge for the lack of respect of other scientists, and Max Mencken, a challenger for the affections of Lois. We also have five acrobatic Ling’s – Fan Po, Tai, Ding Ming Foo and father Ling! – brilliantly choreographed by Kate McPhee, when she wasn’t designing the costumes. Randy Smartnick, when he wasn’t directing, designed an inventive ‘cardboard cut-out’ set of panels that change to become the Daily Planet offices, Sedgwick’s laboratory and all other locations, with an air blower and a doll on a wire giving us flying sequences. The low budget is turned to an advantage by giving us production values to match the tongue-in-cheek tone of the parody.

It’a got some great songs and they are sung really well, accompanied by Aaron Clingham’s excellent quintet behind the stage. Craig Berry as Superman has a commanding presence, a kiss curl, an earnest look and a booming baritone voice. Matthew Ibbotson is a suitably manic baddie (and a dead ringer for The Book of Mormon’s Elder Cunningham, Jared Gertner) and Michelle LaFortune is a lovely Lois. Sarah Kennedy almost steals the show with a terrific performance as put-upon Sydney. There’s great energy and enthusiasm in the whole ensemble which was infectious.

Sadly the run is now over but if there’s any justice it’ll be back. Huge fun on a shoestring.

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