Forget the thought bubbles and the flashy lettering that comic book readers and lovers are so well accustomed to - Michelle Zahner's show A Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery is one that surpasses all those superficial elements to present with a deeper and raw commentary around what goes behind the scenes in the life of a superhero.
Bringing together elements of humor, movement, interactivity, and a whole lot of substance, A Guide to Heroism and SIdekickery revolves around the lives of two significant individuals - The Shadow and Paper Boy, who aren't necessarily a team, but somehow work together to make sure the city they live in is in safe hands.
We picked a day when all of Adelaide seemed to want to congregate at the Adelaide Oval for a certain Ed Sheeran performance, which left Fringe artists like Michelle with a crowd of three people. However, despite the (very) intimate audience, we loved watching Michelle unleash her theatrical talent before us, as she played the role of The Shadow and Paper Boy.
There were a number of subtle and underlying themes to the seemingly goofy, silly, and engaging act, which targeted the real issues such as depression, feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and unrealistic societal expectations that can demonise and destroy an individual's ability to live in society as themselves and instead feel the need to have to cater to what others think. It's toxic, but a well-accepted norm that when people see you as an idol - as a superhero - there are some unrealistic demands and expectations that come into play. Michelle tries to address some of those by jumping behind the lens and explore what it's like for a superhero on a pedestal (not by choice) to meet these expectations, and in the process, potentially lose oneself.
There's a lot of emotion emanating throughout the show - there'll be laughter, there'll be some tears (particularly towards the end), and there'll be a sense of hope. The shadow puppetry done with the help of a projector and its accompanying narrative was a personal favourite, in terms of getting the point of this show across in a powerful manner.
A Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery will be running till March 18 at Raj House on Hyde Street (off Pirie Street in the Adelaide CBD) - book your tickets here.
Want to know more? Connect with A Guide to Heroism and SIdekickery through its social media platforms: Facebook / Twitter.