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Review: SUPERMAN 2050 Soars at the Kennedy Center

Superman vs. Doomsday. Superman vs. Darkseid. Superman vs. Batman. In Theater Unspeakable's production of Superman 2050, directed by Marc Frost, focuses on the ultimate rivalry: Superman vs. Lex Luthor. Set in a futuristic Metropolis, which has everything from machines that help you get ready in the morning to high-speed bullet trains to extremely tall sky skyscrapers, the story begins with Mr. White, the Daily Planet's head honcho, wanting the scope on Lex Luthor, who has built the city's tallest tower across the street from the Daily Planet. Mr. White sends Lois Lane along with Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen to get a story about Luthor's newest creation. It isn't long before Superman must save Metropolis and its citizens from Luthor's clutches. Theater Unspeakable's Superman 2050 is an entertaining, well-paced performance that brings to life new and familiar characters with a minimalist set and no props.

So, what is so super about Superman 2050? The challenge is certainly the limited space. The cast of Superman 2050 is small, but with good reason as they act on top of a 3 feet by 7 feet platform. The cast is able to work the small space to their advantage by using their bodies to create a sense of a larger world including speeding bullet trains, sky scrapers, elevators, and much more. Another challenge is that the cast works with no props with the exception of Clark Kent's glasses. The cast is able to use their hands and movements to indicate their interactions with objects around them. Your imagination then fills in the rest.

Along with dynamic physical challenges, the cast brings out of a bit of comedy and drama in a quick and clever storyline, which the adults in the audience certainly appreciate. Most of the comedy clearly lies with the villainous trio of Lex Luthor (Breon Arzell), Bipsy (Lily Emerson), and Mercy (Thomas Wynne) planning to figure out how to prevent Superman (Marc Frost) from spoiling their plans. Whenever Arzell, Emerson, and Wynne are together, they are able to produce quite a lot of laughs from the audience especially during a scene in which Luthor decides to lure Superman to him by using Bipsy as decoy. Frost is a convincing Superman and Clark Kent. He is able to transition from character to character well as he is able to make Superman's persona clearly distinct from Clark Kent. Superman certainly wouldn't be who he is without Lois Lane (Brittany Anderson). Anderson gels well with Frost especially during a scene in which Lois is interviewing Superman. The duo of Mr. White (Flora Bare) and Jimmy Olsen (Brittany Bookbinder) are quirky and delightful to watch on stage. Bare's Mr. White is gruff, but lovable. Olsen's portrayal of Jimmy, the overly enthusiastic photographer and loyal friend to Clark Kent, is a relatable character to the audience as Jimmy admires both Clark Kent and Superman.

Superman 2050 is a high-flying must see for children and adults alike. The show is an excellent introduction for children to physical theater.

Theater Unspeakable's Superman 2050 runs until April 3rd, 2016 at the Kennedy Center. The production runs at about 1 hour without an intermission. Tickets can be purchased here.

Photo caption and credit: The cast of Theater Unspeakable's Superman 2050. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

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