Thursday, July 10, 2008


Oh my squidness, I've just seen the most fabulous theatre production. A two-man show by two very, very talented gentlemen, Bernard Caleo and Bruce Woolley. It's called Miracleman.

Miracleman is an adaptation of a comic book of the same name by Alan Moore (which I confess I have not read), and it's being staged for a terribly short time only at the o-so-Melbourne-hidden-laneway bar, the Croft Institute - which is a work of weird art in itself. The room only seats about 20 people, and it ends soon, so get in quick!

It was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Very funny, touching, exciting, super-clever and extremely engrossing - I was literally craned forward in my seat, drawn deeply into the cut-and-paste, back-and-forth-in-time stories of the very human characters.

Our main man is a somewhat worn and weary journalist who, with the use of a magic word - Kimota! - can become the superhero Miracleman. Problem is, he's lost the word, and his memory of being more than human, although terrifying fragments come back to him in his nightmares. The plot has loads of twists and turns and zaps through time and space at mindwarp speed. There are slower, very powerful sequences too, where we are suspended inside the big questions that we share with the protagonist. What are we, really? What should we do? (ah, Hamlet!)

Bernard and Bruce perform a huge cast of characters, as well as playing and singing the music (beautiful) and doing all the cleverly minimal props and the lighting and sound. And they do all this with a level of energy, perfectly pitched emotion, comic timing and expressive physicality that is really amazing.

One of the things that made me want to leap out of my seat and cheer was the frame props. In some of the rapid-fire "voice over" narrative sequences, the guys used a pair of flat, brightly coloured rectangular frames to - well, to frame characters' faces or bits of the action. They were living, moving (fast moving!) comic book frames!! Brilliant! That is adaptation working for its keep - using the idiom of one form and making it talk in another form, in a new and exciting way.

Super stuff. And you don't even have to be into comics to get it. And it includes a cameo by a giant squid. Truly, I couldn't ask for more.

Details of the show here at Bernard Caleo's blog. And another review (warning - it has spoilers) from Australian Stage Online here (so you can see it's not just me who is raving about the show!).


fabulous heretic said...

There are so many comics you should read, and Miracleman is one of them. Most of Alan Moore's early works shoudl be read.

drjon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drjon said...

*is very jealous*

I came very very close to buying a flight just to come see this. Wish I'd been able to justify the expense.

(...and proofreading is best done before, not after, hitting the "publish" button.)

Nicki Greenberg said...

There's still time, doctor! If you happen to get a super-cheapie flight today or tomorrow, you are welcome to stay at our place.

Greg G said...

It would in fact be very difficult for you to read Miracleman - it is out of print due to legal reasons.

That review you link to makes a few funny historical mistakes but is generally accurate... except I do think the laughs were intended by Bernard and Bruce.

fabulous heretic said...

There may be no new copies of Miracleman out there, but there are plenty of exsiting copies. The comic hasn't been removed from existence, despite the best efforts of Marvel's lawyers.

I might even send them to you.