by Nicola Wren
26 November – 21 December 2019
Reviewed by Clive Burton
With so many ‘wannabees’ chasing fame these days - regardless of personal cost or talent - it should be fascinating to see what effect being an ordinary family member can have if you are brought up in the shadow of a high-achieving showbiz sibling and seeking to make a name for yourself.
Superstar tells the story of Coldplay’s fabulously-successful Chris Martin and how his sister, the writer and actor Nicola Wren endeavours to shake off playing second fiddle to a global pop icon.
On this showing (admittedly well received on the night I attended) the reason for her relegation to the second division is that Ms Wren lacks sufficient star power to stand out from the crowd as we follow her attempts at chasing fame from her lack of acclaim in an early school play that sees her hopping around the stage as a bunny or performing the lead role as a lacklustre Anne Frank.
A name change might seem a logical place to start uncoupling oneself initially - but then the family connection inevitably emerges sooner or later with the son/daughter finding it difficult to keep the new identity a secret (or, like Lorna Luft, accepting defeat and promoting herself through kinship with her mother, Judy Garland).
Ms Wren eventually blows her cover in this hour-long monologue, although she can never bring herself to admit that what is holding her back is an overly large ego and very little talent.
In this tedious one-hander, audience members take on the roles of Ms Wren’s siblings as she slips into and out of the role of a young unknown trying to cope with living in the shadow of an older brother’s success that constantly overshadows her own inadequate efforts to shine.
An indulgent audience supports Ms Wren in her efforts to demonstrate why she deserves to make it big in the world of showbiz, despite a lack of any obvious talents and the evidence of a dire CV that references little more than a drama school performance as the physical embodiment of a Berocca and an early post-graduation film role as a one-eyed prostitute.
Despite several resourceful attempts detailed anecdotally in Superstar, Ms Wren’s career has struggled to recover ever since and her love life is equally unsuccessful.
Despite the fact that this show won numerous plaudits at the recent Edinburgh Festival Fringe (and the enthusiastic endorsement of an audience including a professional psychiatrist seated beside me on press night) it remains a tedious exercise in self-indulgence.
Self-promotion and self-belief is one thing, but (as the recent downfall of social media superstar Katie Price has shown) it proves no substitute for genuine talent.
Tuesday to Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 6.30pm
Tuesday and Saturday matinees at 3.30pm
See website for full schedule
24 HOURS/NO BOOKING FEES
020 7407 0234
Ticket Prices £18 (£14 conc.)
Students, Under 16’s, Unwaged, Registered disabled, Over 65’s
Registered disabled patrons can bring one companion free of charge.
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