It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! (Plain Jane)
Edmonton Fringe Festival
What was composer Charles Strouse thinking?
He had just won a Tony award for Bye Bye Birdie. His future mistakes (Such as Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge) were years ahead of him. There were just so, so many things that he could have chosen as apt topics for a Broadway musical…
…And he picked Superman. SUPERMAN. Oh, Charles…
For obvious reasons, this is not a musical that is often performed. But it should be, if only for the delightful kitch factor throughout. And for the most part, this was the perfect cast and mounting for this charmingly outdated show.
The staging and direction were perfectly done. The tongue-in-cheek and yet at the same time perfectly earnest delivery of some extremely corny dialogue worked wonderfully.
Jason Harwick, Ryan Parker and Garett Ross shone in their respective characters. Rachel Bowron was a delight, and I would have loved to see even more of her onstage. Elena Porter is a talented singer, but her pretty classical voice didn’t exactly fit the character, and seemed out of place with the more ‘Broadway’ sounds of the others. Sheldon Elter’s Superman seemed a bit stiff – with Christopher Reeve, Superman’s inner conflict was apparent. Elter didn’t exactly manage that. And there are some…uh…costuming details that he needed to sort out. As I heard one person in the audience say: “Give the poor man a dance cup!”
But those are just tiny details. Superman was silly, glossy fun. Well-produced, well-acted, and one of the highlights of this year’s festival.