3 Jan

Book music and lyrics by Leon Parris
The Banana man is the latest and most powerful but terminally stupid Superhero of all time. His alter ego is teenager, Eric Wimp who, though a brilliant scholar, is, like all clever kids, a timorous victim of all the bullies at school. Despite the bananas printed on his underpants, Eric has really no idea is that all he has to do is to eat a banana to effect his metamorphosis as a Superhero in order to save the world from Dastardly villains like Doctor Gloom and General Blight and the Mad Magician.
The two vilest of villains Gloom and Blight are the first to appear, Gloom disguised as a dustbin and Blight as a red post box. It is in these guises that they begin to formulate their evil plan to disrupt the good citizens of Acacia Road.
The cast in this show really enjoy themselves and Marc Pickering who plays Gloom rather like Karl Marx and Carl Mulllaney as Blight give extra special comedy performances. Their disguises are ridiculous. Gloom wears an enormous coat made of leaves and deceives successfully as a bush whereas Blight carries in front of him a life size cardboard cut- out nude from a health and efficiency magazine.
Mark Newnham is loveable as the poor beleaguered Eric and his lady love Fiona – a would be news reporter is funny and beautifully sung by Emma Ralston. Mrs Wimp, Eric’s mother who plies her son with imaginatively devised sandwiches is played by Lizzie Hills last seen at this venue in The Toxic Avenger. Jodi Jacobs plays Eric’s friend The Crow – the speaking Bird!! A very special mention for the light footed and horizontally unchallenged Chief O’Reilly played by TJ Lloyd. An ensemble is made up with Chris McGuigan, Amy Perry and Brian Gilligan who play all the rest.
But towering over them all in his blue and yellow superhero costume is Matthew McKenna a crazy satirical recreation of every daft Superhero we have ever seen..
This show is literally a giggle a minute, with great production values, Mark Perry directs, with Mike Leopold as designer and Mal Hall as musical director.
This is a brilliant fun production – gently leading us out of the pantomime season into something for slightly more grown up children. Unlike the aforesaid pantos, It manages to be a totally clean show and a wonderful sendup of all those Superheroes we read about in the Beano and Dandy.

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