A Modern Guide To Heroism and Sidekickery (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

A Modern Guide To Heroism and Sidekickery

credit: Lorenzo Fantini

The hero examined and responsibility is encouraged

At first Michelle Zahner seems a bit lost in the vastness of The Pleasance Sanctuary venue. The plot appears a bit ropey and the set merely a few random items lying around a blank black box stage. However, much like Clark Kent or Bruce Banner, there's more than meets the eye.

What begins as a simple yarn about new superhero 'The Shadow' and her sidekick 'The Paperboy' slowly turns into a thought provoking piece regarding the expectations placed upon our heroes and the ways in which we can change the world every day. That is not to say that this piece is a heavy philosophical think piece. Zahner creates a fun, interactive and increasingly bizarre hour of theatre and the set comes into its own: fabulous imagery springs from a simple red coat and her projections are magical. There is something childlike about the show, not that it is simple but at times it is capable of inspiring joy only found in childhood.

After the piece picks up momentum, the narrative is a joy to watch. The jokes land, the heart-strings are tugged and the thoughts provoked. All of this culminates in a ridiculous yet charming fight with the tech box staff and a very pleasing closing speech. Zahner manages to capture the full attention of the audience both with wacky interaction and with moving monologuing. Despite being a one-woman show, Zahner never overstays her welcome and entertains consistently. This is not a superhero show about epic CGI fights or teasing post-credits scenes but a cliché-free exploration about the hero within all of us. A silly well-written hour of fun that deserves a full audience to interact with.

The Pleasance, until 27 Aug, £10 (£8).

A Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery

  • 3 stars

Michelle Zahner A superhero story that refuses to be a comic book. Michelle Zahner joyfully mixes storytelling, comedy and poetry to work out how being a superhero in the real world really works. How do you rescue people from depression or broken friendships? How do you fight cyclones, rabid llamas or the patriarchy? What…