BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

13/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

My Accomplice are bringing their high energy, low-fi, super-theatrical style to the 2014 International Comedy Festival! 

Wellington’s favourite young theatre-makers (they’ve won awards and everything) are bringing their high energy, low-fi, super-theatrical style to the Comedy Festival.

 “Comic genius” – Theatreview.org.nz 
“Joyous and hilarious” – Wordonthestreet.co.nz 
“Achingly funny” – Capital Times 

Will Captain Ashley Smash with her unbelievable powers of super strength, Cyborg Rob Bot with the powers of… Cyborg, and The Yellow Fury with his supreme martial arts skills be able to defeat Dr. Murder Bailey – an evil super genius who’s determined to crack open the earth? Or will these super heroes end up super dead? 

A Show About Superheroes is a spin off from the beloved My Accomplice trilogy of A PLAY ABOUT LOVE, A PLAY ABOUT SPACE and A PLAY ABOUT FEAR, brought to you especially for the Comedy Festival. The accomplices love all the same comics and movies as you, so they’ve made a hilarious play as deep as THE DARK KNIGHT, as spectacular as THE AVENGERS and as kick-ass as KICK-ASS.

Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 May, 8pm
BATS Theatre Out of Site
Adults $18 | Concession $14 | Groups 6+ $12
www.bats.co.nz | 04 802 4175 | book@bats.co.nz 

Exhausting the superheroes theme

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 15th May 2014

As a theatre group, My Accomplice has now well and truly established itself as a progressive and enterprising force on the Wellington theatre scene.

Through its trilogy – A Play About Love, A Play About Space and A Play About Fear – and other productions it has created a unique style of performance that is very physical and, although scripted, often appears improvised.   

The brains behind these productions, Uther Dean and Paul Waggott, have now come up with something even more bizarre, written by Dean and aided in part by the cast of Hannah Banks, Alex Greig and Simon Leary, for this year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival.  

Exceedingly fast-paced, exhaustively physical (which is often very funny) and full of humorous dialogue – if you can catch it – A Show About Superheroes gives a satirical nod to all those television shows and films of the superhero genre, from The Avengers to Batman. [More]


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A splendid display of play

Review by John Smythe 14th May 2014

This is a very clever and witty play, and Hannah Banks, Alex Greig and Simon Leary are simply brilliant in it. Book now to avoid disappointment.  

According to My Accomplice, A Play About Love (March 2012), A Play About Space (July 2013) and A Play About Fear (February 2014) constitute a trilogy and A Show about Superheroes is a spin-off. But I see the plays about Love and Fear as a pair, being about primary human emotions, while those about Space (as a sci-fi sub-genre) and Superheroes are coupled as pop-culture genres.  

What separates A Show about Superheroes from the others is the utter simplicity of its staging: just three actors in a bare space; no costumes as such, no props, no clever tricks with on-stage lights. And yet – despite the programme’s claim the three actors play 72 characters in 51 scenes involving 24 deaths (I didn’t count them but do believe those stats) – it plays out with relative clarity.

Yes it is rich in the esoteric tropes and motifs of – and homages to – the titular genre, which aficionados find hugely entertaining. My ancient familiarity with Marvel comics, and liking of Superman and some Batman films – not to mention a recent reading of Dylan Horrocks’ Hicksville – is certainly enough for me to recognise the plot structure and imagine the ingeniously performed action in comic book or filmic form.

The framing devices are a ‘History of Heroes’ documentary series hosted by Chris Crumpet and news flashes that come to us from NewsBots Alpha and Beta. We are taken back to a “time before history” when the first superheroes were anointed by the blinding light and vowed to only use their superpowers for good.

Following some relatively primitive tryouts, the first Extreme Team includes Fact Man, Captain Ashley Smash, Rob Bot the Cyborg and The Yellow Fury, not to mention Incredibly Racist Man (who indeed is not to be mentioned, or at least not given stage time).

The ‘MacGuffin’ is Chekhov’s Diamond (a variation on Chekhov’s Gun?). The heroes’ nemesis, determined to use it to achieve immortality and world domination, is Lord Killingsworth, who of course must be vanquished … But being a popular series, he must also survive to allow for a sequel or three … And so it goes …

A Kiwi school playground turns out to harbour the latest iteration of heroes: The Super Six who become the next Team Extreme. I especially enjoy these characterisations and if My Accomplice didn’t have to be so intent on packing the show into an hour, I think more could be made of their ‘ordinary life’ cover stories.

The power one has to inhabit the bodies of others generates the most entertaining humour amongst a great deal of extremely entertaining humour. A memorable mime sequence involves the rigmarole Lord K must go through to unlock the diamond. Many apparently incidental elements are reincorporated and developed to help achieve cohesion and a sense of progress …  

But what impresses me most is the skill with which this talented trio plays the text as if it were a full orchestral score, honouring its light and shade and variations in tempo; capturing sweet, if fleeting, moments of succulent subtlety as well as going for broke on the big stuff. They are so wonderfully fluid and fluent with the material, it’s as if they’d been playing it for years.  

While A Show About Superheroes is a splendid tribute to – and sendup of – a much-loved popular genre, the plot is really the means by which writer / director Uther Dean and his highly creative team of three get to display how much play can be had with a play, in the making of it, in its performance on stage and for its audience.

I’d like to see it given a chance to breathe a bit more, find its natural length and shape, then tour to festivals.


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