If you’ve ever wandered around tourist hotspots such as New York’s Times Square or LA’s Hollywood Boulevard then you’ll know about the teams of actors dressed as movie characters, usually superheroes, exchanging photo opportunities for tips from tourists. Matthew Radway’s new two-hander, Super introduces us to Rick and Kat, also known as Batman and Catwoman on the boulevard.
In alternating monologues, Rick and Kat speak to a local reporter about the success that their friend Steven has found. While they’ve both shared the same experiences and events, their accounts of both differ.
Steven was Robin to Rick’s batman and there’s more than a hint that TMZ have gotten hold of a story about Rick’s former protégé, and there’s a very nice payoff towards the end for this aspect of the narrative.
Rick credits Steven’s success to himself, with an inflated ego, he considers himself to be a bit of a celebrity, despite currently being homeless. Max Dowler does a marvellous job of getting across the varying levels of self-importance Rick harbours.
Kat, or Katherine, sees the job for what it actually is and takes a far more pragmatic approach to life. Though we do see some evidence that she has using her co-workers for a variety of reasons. Charlie Vero-Martin gives a tender and heartfelt performance that sits in nice contrast with Rick’s bravado.
Radway’s script moves deftly between a dark humour and a story that really explores the different way friends can react to someone else’s success; either supportive or green with jealousy. The two characters here personify these reactions and it’s interesting to see them play off each other in this style of performance.
Super is a uniquely placed piece of drama that oozes authenticity thanks to the playwright’s intense research on the subject. This is a play that teaches us it’s not a costume that makes you a hero, it’s how you behave and what you do that counts.