Before sitting down to write this review, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time Googling things like ‘Nicola Wren siblings’ and ‘Is Nicola Wren actually Chris Martin from Coldplay’s sister’. The conclusion I have reached is that yes, she is, and I don’t know why I doubted it because at the very beginning of Superstar, currently at Underbelly Cowgate, Nicola tells us this is a completely honest show.
I’ve seen Nicola’s work at the Fringe before, never knowing that she had an extraordinarily famous brother, and that’s kind of the point of the show. After years of hiding her family history, Nicola is ready to reveal the things that being related to the Coldplay front man has cost her.
If you’re expecting a show that cashes in on the success of her brother then you’ll be disappointed, Nicola Wren is far too talented in her own right to have to use this as a way of getting bums on seats. Superstar is instead a very personal introspection about what it’s meant to Nicola to have a need to be accepted by all of her siblings, while standing in one giant shadow.
Over the hour we get a potted history of Nicola’s performing career, from a lamb in the local pantomime, to her most recent Fringe show Replay, which she has come to accept was just another way of revealing her own thoughts while still trying to hide away her secret. It’s a very funny piece of theatre, and not just because of the various costumes or the odd one-liner. The Nicola Wren we see in Superstar has the complete opposite of imposter syndrome, this Nicola Wren has an unabashed belief that she is the star of the family, we laugh along but we also understand too.
Beautifully written, Superstar gives us all plenty to think about; our own relationships with family members, or our own desires to succeed in a chosen field. Wren’s very naturalistic delivery allows the audience to feel part of the production, as if we were being told this very personal story one on one.
If Google is right, and Nicola Wren is Chris Martin’s sister then talent clearly runs in the family, but if we have been duped by an elaborate ploy, and she’s not actually related to him, then she’s even more of talented a performer and writer than we initially suspected.