The Marvellous Super Zeroes

How many superheroes with lame powers does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but if you’re smart you’ll do it yourself.

The Marvellous Super Zeroes, the latest piece from the Drama & Theatre Crafts workshop at Specialist Autism Services, was performed at The New Bradford Playhouse on Thursday. It was a tale of heroics, crime, and corrupt TV executives.

Of course, appropriate to the title, the heroes are hard-pressed to actually be heroic. Handyman (who can break out of jail with a nailfile, but apparently can’t fix a boiler), Bag-Man (who has domination over bags of all kinds, as long as the person holding them doesn’t argue), Swim-Lady (basically Aquaman) and Rewind Man (who can rewind matter but not apparently time) are the titular Super Zeroes, and we first see them at their lowest ebb – their random acts of kindness at best make people angry, and at worst wreak havoc, leading to their popularity to plummet, which in turn (worst of all) puts their TV deal in jeopardy.

No band of superheroes would be complete without a group of antagonists, and the Super Zeroes have ones which match their power-levels, but are marginally more competent. Needle Man, Silent Woman and Greedy Guts probably needn’t do anything except wait for the next time the Super Zeroes screw up to ensure their plans for Bradfordian domination to succeed. Like the Super Zeroes, only one of them has a power that isn’t completely lame, but their hideout is slightly more modern (it has a push-button phone rather than a rotary-dial one).

The story centres around the Super Zeroes’ last-ditch attempts to save their sinking reputation (and their TV show), the efforts of the villains to thwart them, and the demands of their TV show’s producer to pull their fingers out and do some ratings-winning superhero work. One bus crash later, and all appears lost – until a monster turns up and begins menacing the Super Zeroes in their HQ. The villains have an attack of sympathy, and realising that if the Super Zeroes go down they won’t have anyone to fight, come to the rescue. Even with each of them (apart from Rewind Man [who was on stage as Greedy Guts at the time] and Handyman [who was in prison]) using their powers, it’s a close-run thing to beat the monster. And that’s when they find out that it’s just someone who would’ve got away with it if it weren’t for those pesky kids!

A rather silly and quite enjoyable little adventure, you have, sadly, missed seeing it. (Unless you can provide a venue, time and funding for them to perform it again, of course.) Despite the inexperience and nervousness of some of the cast, this was a good-quality production, well managed and well delivered. There was no hint of it being thrown together at the last minute, nor any sign that it was only the best they could do. Well done guys!


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