By Phillip Stanley
Attending the opening night of Proteus Theatre’s new Autumn Season launch, we were treated to a lively opening exchange from Marketing Manager Mary George and Creative Producer Fergus Evans who captivated us with their coming season of work with eloquent and down-to-earth speeches and a fantastic promo video.
Held at their Creation Space on Council Road, the environment was warm, welcoming and vibrant, the atmosphere was of a supportive family, all there willing to promote theatre and the arts.
Having taken our seats, so began the world premier of I’m Super, Thanks.
We are introduced to our central character of Amanda Adams (Mary Swan), PHD in grizzly bears, expert in human-bear conflict and wife to a retired Superhero.
The lighting, set, costume and props are simple and elegant throughout, lending to the minimalist style of the piece and allowing us to really focus on everything Swan is divulging.
As we flit between a presentation and Swan’s more off-kiltered self, Swan draws parallels between modern women and female bears, painting a vivid picture with an engaged and focused audience.
With sparkling originality and holding a powerful message, the piece did lack in cohesion when it came to the overall narrative. There were several inconsequential conversations and comments which were never fully explored and almost brushed aside.
We were left a little confused why a character wishing to deliver a lecture on bears and not wanting to be drawn into a conversation about her personal life and husband does so with such ease.
Narrative aside, this did not take away from Swan’s brilliant performance. She jumped between roles with ease and commanded the stage expertly. Her vocals started almost monotone with complicated word and sentence structures, demonstrating someone clearly in control and knowledgeable. These were juxtaposed with the louder, commanding and defiant character we are presented with at the end of the piece. Her characterisation of the wives was comic, well delivered and snappy, if a little patronising to women under the age of 40 with the reference to ‘bimbos’ hitting a wrong note.
There are some lovely comic and tragic moments in the piece and some great arguments made with real gravitas and poignancy by Swan.
This piece is worth a watch and the company very much worth supporting. There are some exciting things coming up at Proteus!
I’m Super, Thanks runs for the next two nights (5th & 6th October) from 19:30.