Superstar review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘entertainingly watchable’
In many ways, this one-woman play by Nicola Wren fulfils many of the stereotypes of low-budget, solo theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. An autobiographical piece loosely hung together around a point of difference in the performer’s own life. Its disjointed, slightly madcap cycling between illustrative clips of other onstage roles she’s played seems designed as much to bring to life the performer’s acting portfolio as tell a story.
Yet for many other reasons, Superstar is a breakout success of its genre. Wren is a versatile and entertainingly watchable talent, who does from-the-heart pathos and unselfconscious physical comedy equally well, and the quirk in her autobiography is genuinely interesting: Coldplay singer Chris Martin is the eldest of her four siblings.
With almost a decade and a half between then, Wren (her stage name, chosen to differentiate from her brother, is rather elaborately based on Pizza Express’ La Reine pizza) regards Martin not so much with regard or resentment, as simple resignation to the fact that anyone who knows her will know her through the prism of his fame.
With another three siblings in the family – all of whom she pretends will be taking the best seats at the front shortly – Wren’s self-written piece chooses not to focus excessively on Chris, but instead to create a more universal and accessible work about the weighty expectations that those before them place on any youngest child. It’s a fun show, and a powerful calling card for her talents.
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