Captain Amazing, written by north-east born Alistair McDowall is a one-man show fronted by Mark Weinman about a superhero in turmoil about his identity ‘it is just a cape’, his relationship with his child and his rivalry with other superheroes like Batman and Superman. London born Weinman keeps to his natural accent, other than his subtle US references to his counterparts, but all in all this is such a British piece expressing the mundanities of family life, and of course an anti-positive stance on superhero duties. However, one never quite knows what the writer is going to put out there, which sets performances apart from conventional parts. The wholly talented actor, like Mark Weinman, will surely want to dabble in such experimental parts. Weinman enthused the audience for a staggering 70 minutes in his self expressive mode, and never hid behind the cape.
Writer Alistair McDowall has conveyed an ironic representation of life as a superhero – who would have imagined it would be as stressful as a 9-5 job. Indeed key player Weinman has to possess superhero qualities, in order to present this piece, as his voice and accent softening abilities are put out there like he is auditioning for a million parts all rolled into one. What I like about new writing is that it doesn’t try to conceal anything like bad acting concealed by an impeccably well designed set, or vice versa, as all is weighted on Weinman’s acting ability, even making judgement on his flying prowess, as he succinctly balances himself between the stage boxes, and cleverly manoeuvres through the clouds.
Visually, little is presented to the viewer, other than the child drawings projected onto the central stage screen which unraveled a bit like a comic book throughout each device in the piece. The child drawings were dynamic, and unfolded the piece like a jigsaw story, so that the spectator didn’t get lost off with so many voice transformations from Weinman. The theme of the fantasist piece about superheroes and an idealist versus realist stance on being cautious what we wish for, demonstrates that what we dream of as children sometimes just doesn’t add up when we enter into adulthood, although some may question whether Captain Amazing is still a big kid in a man’s world.
Although, his voiceovers were cunningly simplistic enough to be able to distinguish man from child, the mothers voice got slightly fused somewhere between the middle, and was a little too deep. However, every male actor would struggle with female parts, as evidently the vocal cords are just not cut out for it.
Before I arrived, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this piece, as the Live programme speaks of other characters mum, dad, and child in the first person, so I was surprised to see it presented as a one-man show, with supposedly the other characters being invisible, thanks to Dads superpowers!