Monday, April 22, 2013

Journeyman "Man After Superman" review by BobEvans

Journeyman Productions gives new twist to Superman saga Rating: 4

Man After Superman
by Journeyman Theatre Company

A simple disguise of a suit and dark rimmed glasses for years dumbfounded and clouded the vision of everyone who worked at Gotham's Daily Planet Newspaper; and even close associates and personal friends never suspected that beneath the disguise, without the glasses and suit, mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent hid his red cape and tights and really was Superman,

The Journeyman's Production Company explores some of those phenomenon along with the psyche of Kent and Superman after he's been dropped by long-time love interest Lois Lane, who's now moved on to find a new love via speed dating. Yes, speed dating, that modern smorgasbord of available meat-on-the-street, entices Lane and a bevy of other available women to find their Mr. Right. In this case, Mr Right takes the form of Dan, another mild-mannered male.

Man After Superman, written by Allan Amdor (not to be confused with George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman) tells the story of Dan, played by Ben Orschein, a young man attempting to escape the clutches of his ex-girlfriend. He finds himself still bullied by the annoying, Harlene Quincy. Even though she claims to be over and past Dan, she drags him to a speed-dating event along with her to help him move on as well. Audiences enjoy the buffet of available females looking to connect.

There, Dan meets Lois Lane, fetchingly played by Brie Henderson. Lois admits her desire to move on and find a normal man after a long involvement with Superman and hints at the cracks in his steely persona and temperament. X-ray vision can be used to spy. X-ray vision can be a powerful laser. Jealousy can make people vulnerable. Microwaves are powerful instruments. And to understand all that, attend the comedy and see how those all meld into a light adaptation of the classic Superman series.

Director Greg Chafin put together a splendid cast of actors to deliver the comedic twists and turns of this outing. The lighting, sound, props, set, decoration, staging and blocking allow the audience to move from scene to scene with minimal changes during blackouts. The creative stage design allows different parts of the stage to be easily lit and ready for the next scene without distraction. Opening night saw a few sound mistakes as all dialogue was not clear, but a tweak can fix that by the second performance. Overall, the crews and behind the scend staff did a wonderful job of creating an enjoyable evening for a large opening night crowd.

As for the actors, Orschein, as Dan delivered his character by moving effortlessly among the other principals and remained charming and convincing throughout. Jamie Veltre Crutchfield as the ex-girlfriend teetering between obsessive and compassionate in a wacky characterization of the spurned and needy girlfriend. Lois Lane's character remained constant in the hands of Henderson who challenged the audience who come expecting a brunette but find a savvy, alert and smart blonde Lois. And, still, Lois can't see how anyone could think Clark and Superman are one because "Superman does not wear glasses." And, FYI (and not a spoiler)–-almost everyone in the play can't see the similarities of Kent and Superman.

As for the other actors in the play, Chafin selected actors to deliver characters that remain believable throughout the play and add to the success of the production. Several others undertake the parts of the speed dating beauties and a waitress who provide smiles show the awkwardness of first encounters. Richard Klaiber plays the proprietor of a comedy club, and his few minutes on stage are funny and real for those who have been to comedy clubs. The "bad comic" springs to life in the persona of Lucas T. McVey, who delivers unfunny material in a way that audiences can't help but smile at his lack of both skill and material. Then, there's Clark Kent who hides his super-human ability under the disguise of a business suit and dark rimmed glasses. Samn Wright, looks the part and plays the part. He manages to build the part from non-caring to jealous, from non-aggressive to threatening with a determined and well-thought, well-performed

And, finally, there is Tim, Ben's roommate, in this case masterfully acted by Johnathon Engle Even though the part is not the focus of the show, his acting can steal any scene. He's a very good actor with great physical and facial expressions. His first scenes with Dan make audiences wonder if there will be a sub-plot leading to more from him. Yes, it's a comedy but his character is strong and consistently drawing the audience's attention.

For those how enjoy the Dell Comics character of Superman, Man After Superman offers a twist and some smiles and laughs. Both director and ensemble give audiences something to smile about. The show runs under 2 hours with intermission and should tighten a bit with subsequent performances. The show is suitable and understandable for all ages, but be warned. Like most new theatrical performances, some strong language can be expected. Anyone who knows the Superman comics, TV shows, and movies stand to enjoy this fun outing.

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