Confessions of a Super Hero by Sam Ody, George Gehm and Glenn Clarke is a new comedy musical which graced Camden Fringe Festival from August 16th– 18th. It tells the story of Jenny-Lee (Meesha Tuner) joining a ‘Superhero’s anonymous’ group in the hope they will help to control her powers. Throughout the course of this one act musical we learn all about the superheroes and the pressure they face from society in a funny and innovative setting.
For a comedy, this musical definitely touched on real issues that are prevalent in today’s society. From female empowerment, to discrimination of minorities, it was refreshing to see this musical tackle this in such a funny and powerful way. There was a perfect mix of ensemble songs, ballads and sassy duets. The composition was made up of poppy and jazzy numbers which all really stood out on their own. Jenny-Lee’s ballad Back Home tugged on the heart strings and really represented her vocal range. In contrast, ensemble number, The Politician had a jazzy vibe and accompanied by harsh red lighting, gave each character a chance to multirole. Harmonies were blended beautifully and really gave an essence of old school, wordy musical theatre, giving each actor the ability to act through song.
Six isn’t a big cast but it’s not a small one either. Each ‘superhero’ had to shine in their own right in order to be seen and remembered by the audience. They all did that. A strong female presence was seen through Wolverqueen and A-Girl, played by Rosie Cumber and Phoebe Ransome. Their song Follow Me successfully represented two, very different, but valid ways to address feminism in a ‘superhero world’ teaching Jenny-Lee to be comfortable in her own skin firstly, before being able to control her superpowers. This was personally one of my favourite songs because of its message and SASSY execution.
This show showed homage to superhero history with Sam Ody playing a ‘BTEC’ version of superman named Clarke. Professor Leggs, George Gehm, took a comedy take on Professor X from X-Men and had to be my favourite character BY FAR. His one liners came so naturally and at the perfect time I couldn’t tell if they were add-libbed or written into the script. He had me and most of the audience in absolute stitches throughout. Adam Johnson who played ‘Fratman’ also brought comedy elements to the musical; his ‘frat boy’ attitude perfectly complimented the rest of the characters. His song Orphan, about how superheroes childhood, or lack thereof, is brilliantly funny and insensitive but somehow he just manages to get away with it because of his stupidity.
The light choreography during the ensemble numbers Destiny’s Call and Bring the Flame, the opening and closing numbers could have been pushed more. I believe a lot more risks could have been taken, don’t get me wrong the choreography was good but with a bit more and with stronger moves it could have been great. It could have been the thing to tie in all the musical theatre elements and made the songs more powerful than they already were.
The set was simplistic, resembling an anonymous meeting and this worked really well for an intimate theatre such as ‘Upstairs at the Gatehouse’. Straight after watching the show I did think that maybe they needed more set or a bigger stage, but having a day or two to mull on that idea I don’t think I would have done anything different to the set and staging, it was a great use of space that did exactly what it could to help tell the story.
Overall this musical was a joy to watch. With a bigger band, professional costumes and choreography, the music and book really aren’t far from professional level. Each actor fitted their role perfectly and was so strong in their own rights, as well as in the ensemble. So someone please pick up this hilarious musical and give it the push it needs!