THEATRE REVIEW: Superstar ★★★★
Southwark Playhouse, London
Tuesday 26th November - Saturday 21st December 2019
Superstar sees Chris Martin from Coldplay pushed to the side, as his younger sibling Nicola is in town to give her own account of her rise to stardom, away from her older brother’s path, with a change in surname… but she can’t until Chris and her other siblings, Richard and Alex, are sat centre front row, ‘VIP’ to be precise. Of course, Chris, Richard and Alex are not to turn up, with willing volunteers brought forward to take up the position, and even though moments are aimed towards their bewildered faces, it’s all in jest and makes what Nicola has produced into something worth listening to, as her misfortunes and past provide enough hilarity alone.
From a young age Nicola has had a dream to perform, from her years as a child actor on her school stage and a role in Wind and the Willows suggests; during these moments Nicola physically transforms in front of us, narrating her own story the whole way through, right to the moment when Gwenyth Paltrow is sat amongst Nicola’s soon-to-be adoring fans, too much amusement. Superstar alone though showcases more than anything a linear story of Nicola trying to hide her family history and be her own person, even if her brothers most famous tracks play during auditions and social gatherings. Nicola Wren, as she since renamed herself to hide from the limelight, is a formidable, warm, and likeable character who you can instantly warm to, and though there are odd moments of interaction with her Company Stage Manager, this is a sole outing which should be praised with it’s boldness, wit, timing, and transitioning speeds which result in sheer pace and never let’s up on the creativity; Wren’s sense of likeability is so precise considering the intimate staging, and she really makes you feel a part of the action… especially if you get chosen to play a former lover.
Overall, though Wren’s outing at Southwark is a short one, her ability to trance you in a state of charm for just over the hour is what makes her production one that could possibly tour for more audiences to deservedly discover the skill of Nicola’s power to captivate with words, to match, if not advance, her older brother’s success; though Coldplay can capture emotions and memories, Nicola Wren will capture your heart and do her very best to never let it up!