Review-Superheroes Don't Give a Shit!-Wedraman



By: Meaghan McGurgan


"Working on a show about superheroes has sometimes felt like fiddling while Rome burns... Content is created democratically, in contrast to the structure of traditional theatre..."- Ivor Houlker and Michelle Li, Directors

 Theatre, and especially comedy, can be used to escape the harshness of reality. When you’ve been eating, sleeping, breathing Occupy for the past few weeks it can feel a bit strange to be attending a show about a superhero school in San Po Kong but Wedraman and their team didn’t shy away from any of the current events in Hong Kong. Superheroes Don’t Give a Shit! was a site-specific piece about what it takes to become a hero and what choices that requires.


The beginning of show led us through the space through a series of vignettes. These vignettes told us the story of our hero, Alfie. It was done using found object puppetry. There were action figures, balls, funnels and spools of string used to represent the characters. My personal favorite was a vacuum cleaner for the Hydra. These sections were presented in Cantonese with a detailed English summary to read and were very referential to classic Greek tragedy. I wish I had been given more than one minute with the summary, so I could have been more familiar with the story before we began going through Alfie’s journey, due to the language barrier issue.


The vocal variety and enthusiasm from the performers is evident from the beginning of the show. Their smiles and laughter are infectious. You want to join in the fun, even though you might not fully understand everything they’re saying.


After the vignettes, we were taken to the black box where we were introduced to our Headmaster and hero, Alfie. We were sorted into various schools, a la the Sorting Hat. The cast are multinational with Cantonese and English speaking members, making this an experience that both expat and local can enjoy. There were surtitles in the black box and I really appreciated the effort which went into them. One issue was that the free-standing nature of the audience and the placement of actors onstage left them partially blocked a lot of the time. Cast members noticed my confusion right away and helped me through the activities.


SDGaS! is a show that relies very heavily on audience participation. Come dressed to move and prepared to sit, kneel, jump and practise your telekinetic powers. If you’re wanting a show to just sit back and relax then this is not the show for you. It’s a truly unique performance experience, unlike anything else I’ve seen in HK before. If the cast set out to create something different then they’ve achieved this goal, completely. 


The costume designs are phenomenal and could be hung in a museum as an example of avant-garde fashion. The cast and crew took everyday objects like bubble wrap, cardboard, sheets and plastic bags and turned them into fantastic Superhero costumes. My favorite was the one completely made of blue straws. It was so Gaga, I wanted to rip it off the actress and wear it myself. It gave fond memories of playing dress-up as a kid but was taken to an extreme level of awesomeness. 


From a dramatic perspective, I sometimes wondered the purpose of all the games. Why was I jumping through a hoop? (Literally…) It isn’t your traditional plot driven show but sometimes I think the message was lost in the middle of all the actions. The Healing school was my favorite activity section. I enjoyed the chanting and the Confucius driven Q&A, which reminded me of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I loved as a kid, and I thought banging on a fire hydrant as a gong was very clever. The Healing section was most clear for us to understand from a who, what, why perspective… 


Overall, the cast was extremely committed to their roles and characters. They had no fear of seeming silly or over the top, which made the show quite fun to watch. Special shout outs should go to my favorite performers, Jacky Chan as the adorable Big Bear, Samuel J. Craig as Captain Gwailow, Michelle Li as Plastic Pak, the leader of the Telekinesis team and Alfie Leung as our fearless Headmaster.


If you’re looking for something a little different this weekend to take your mind off the worries of the world or have a desire to practice your flying skills, then Superheroes Don’t Give a Shit! is the show for you. Tickets are extremely reasonable at 160HKD for adults and 100 for students. Seating is limited for this production due to the site-specific nature of the piece. You can book ahead through Art-Mate. 


Superheroes Don’t Give a Shit! is playing through Sunday. For more information, click here.



Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.0


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