Filled with lively songs and characters, this musical has plenty to offer but needs more depth plot wise to really make it shine.
I have to say that the concept behind this musical is extremely promising, in the way in which it deals with female empowerment, self-confidence and dealing with adversity head on. However, it does in many ways still need further development in terms of relationships between characters and the subplots that exist beneath the surface and deserve further exploration.
Written by Lourds Lane, SuperYou already has a solid fan base thanks to social media and especially TikTok and it was clear that many of the fans were in the audience at the Lyric Theatre were delighted to see the show finally on stage (having been due to premiere off Broadway just before COVID hit) and it is that that helped to heighten the sense of fun that shines throughout the show.
The central plot of the show follow the story of Katie who finds a passion for comic strip drawing from an early age with the encouragement of older brother Matty and a way to escape the pain of her real life including from being bullied at school. She soon creates a series of superheroes based on her school friends and help give her the courage to keep going – no matter what life throws at her, until the untimely death of her brother. Years later she rediscovers her passion for the characters, leading her to enter a illustration competition to win $100,000 to help support her mother. It is a story all about discovering your voice when you think you have lost it and it is certainly uplifting from this point of view, particularly when it incorporates the pain that social media and fame can cause through her relationship with up and coming musician Jay.
However, it does have to be said that there is just a vibe that the depth of the story has yet to be fully realised – particularly when it comes to the relationships between characters (I would have enjoyed more of exploring the relationship between Katie and her mother which certainly has so much to say, as does the way in which Katie and Jay handle their relationship.
Musically, the range of styles used throughout is impressive and inventive- although on occasion it felt as though some of the songs just went on a tad too long without any reason – I wasn’t entirely sure that it was necessary to give each of the cartoon heroes their own individual song (even if it highlighted the different aspects of character that Katie should exhibit) – which meant the first act was surprisingly long. Yes each character has something to say, but at the same time it does slow down the pace of the straightforwardness of the plot and could use some tightening up. This being said there are some really strong tracks to be found including ‘We Are Awake’, ‘Fragmented’ and ‘To My Angels’ – highlighting the depth and range of Lane’s songwriting skills, on occasion matched by some truly lovely choreography by JoAnn M.Hunter that helps to enhance the story further as well as narration that gives an idea of what a full staged production would look like.
Throughout there are some truly lovely performances to be enjoyed. Aaliyah Monk as young Katie/ Lightening Girl is a real joy to watch delivering real emotional depth that really gives insight of how much pain the remoteness of her relationship with her mother is. Equally impressive (and it would have been nice to have seen more of) was Jonty Peach as Matty who is confident and a joy to watch perform from start to finish. Luke Brady as Jay shows a great character arc and transformation – he shows that character’s journey perfectly without getting carried away. Lucie Jones as the grown up Katie matching her performance with Monk’s nicely to ensure the development of the character feels natural, while vocally of course delving deep emotionally.
Overall there is much to be enjoyed here, but it does feel like there is still much to be uncovered story and character wise that would give SuperYou even more strength. This being said it has plenty of promise and with a little bit more refining will certainly be deserving of a full production.
By Emma Clarendon