Review: Sidekicks & Secret Identities (Monkeyman Productions)

Superhero antics take over the stage at Toronto’s Fraser Studios in Sidekicks & Secret Identities

Sidekicks Secret Identitiess - Sean KaufmannUp, up and away! If you’re into comic book conundrums, venture over to Toronto’s Fraser Studios for Monkeyman Productions‘ Sidekicks & Secret Identities.

Our evening about undercover wonders was made up of three stories: Sidekicks by Manda Whitney and Errol Elumir, and two shorter pieces Fortress of Solitude and Super by D.J. Sylvis.

Sidekicks gave us troubled superhero Flex Girl (Jordi O’Dael). Flex Girl’s dilemma: She’s got a crush on her boss General Justice. Unfortunately, he’s not interested in Flex Girl as a romantic partner, nor as an esteemed colleague. In a café, she reveals her frustrations to her villainous confidante Minion 5 (Andrew Gaunce) over several muffin sessions.

While the playwrights focused mostly on relationships, what I liked best about Sidekicks were the fights. A bit of Pow! Boom! and Bam! satisfied my expectations of a superhero-themed play. Plus, the swift movements kept us engaged and had good energy.

Fortress of Solitude gave us sad-faced Force Girl (Kelly Preeper) who is torn between her heroics and her secret identity as a wife to a loving civilian (Sean Kaufmann). I wasn’t sure how well superheroes mixed with melodrama, but Sylvis showed originality in giving us no punching, flying or zapping — just behind-the-scenes personal struggles.

While there were touching moments, I personally felt the story lacked closure. That’s why, for a few seconds, my theatre companion and I both thought that Kaufmann’s reappearance in Super was a sequel to Fortress of Solitude.

Super was in fact a separate story altogether. We were absorbed in this monologue. Kaufmann gave us a charming performance, successfully evoking a street artist (man who dresses up as Superman at a tourist spot) trying to make a difference. Hats off to Kaufmann for his exaggerated Man of Steel expressions as he posed for spare change.

As for the venue, my friend particularly liked the intimacy of Fraser Studios. Even though we sat in the back row, we felt as if the actors were within arm’s reach. O’Dael, Gaunce, Preeper and Kaufmann were perfectly comfortable being zoomed in on by such a small audience.

If you’ve got comic books under your pillow or if you’re ever dressed up as your favourite superhero for Halloween, then Sidekicks & Secret Identities is for you.

Details

  • Sidekicks & Secret Identities is playing until October 26 at Fraser Studios (76 Stafford St.)
  • Shows run October 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and October 26 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Ticket prices are $15 a the door or $15.75 online via PayPal.

Photo of Sean Kaufmann provided by the Company

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