Though the sophisticated FringeNYC-goer will find more nuanced productions at this year’s festival, it’s unlikely they’ll find one performed with more enthusiasm than Super Sidekick the Musical. At an hour long, Super Sidekick is a quick moving, no frills adventure kids are sure to enjoy. And for the big people that brought them, there are well-rounded performances, a couple of solid gags, and expertly crafted lyrics to keep their interest peaked, too.
Inky is “just a sidekick”, dutifully working in the shadow of the town’s real super-hero, Blackjack the Bold. He wants to be more, but at half the size of Blackjack, and even less athletic, the prospects are dim. When the villain, Dr. Slurm, escapes however, taking the Princess, and eventually Blackjack, with him, Inky’s chance to save the day arises. But it won’t be easy. He’ll have to brave the Cave of Doom, which is crawling with the stuff of nightmares and at least two Ninja Koalas.
Played with great fun and energy, the entire cast of Super Sidekick is terrific. The roles are easily recognizable comic book archetypes, and the cast has a good time with them. Tom Slot’s Slurm is a lot of fun, and gives him the chance to sing the play’s best song, “Slurm’s Soliloquy,” about how hard it is to be bad. As the father of a lovely but impressionable little girl, I also appreciated the performance of Mollie Fischer as the Princess, who was sweet, but also perfectly capable of saving herself.
Gregory Craft’s book is funny and clear, providing a good foundation for Michael Gordon Shapiro’s brilliant lyrics, which get more impressive the closer one listens. While the kids won’t be able to appreciate the many twists of phrases in his songs, the adults certainly will. In Slurm’s big number, which is indebted to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, he laments, “It’s hard to be evil. It’s tough to be mean. You don’t simply take a tonic and the next day be demonic. It’s a never ending fight. It’s a round-the-clock regime.” It’s hilarious, and very impressive.
Super Sidekick is a fun, super-charged adventure that’s sure to keep your kid engaged, and probably you as well. That is, unless you’re a Slurm.