Dead Unicorn Ink returns to the Ottawa Fringe Festival with a hilarious and relevant take on being super.

Well, Isn’t This Super…(Marvellous Man IV: The Return of Marvellous Man) develops strong characters as it explores the issues surrounding gender stereotypes in Hollywood, particularly the overt over-sexualization of female characters and their lack of representation as strong human beings in films. The show follows a few key players on the set of the final day of shooting the fictional film “Marvelous Man 4; The Return of Marvelous Man.”

Image courtesy of Dead Unicorn Ink
Image courtesy of Dead Unicorn Ink

The characters themselves are the show’s greatest assets, which is peculiar enough in a super hero piece. I’m glad the powers here aren’t real, because it affords the human characters of the actors the opportunity to drive the story. These characters are real, have stakes, and make us care about them. I really appreciate the balance that is demonstrated in this show, where the characters have opinions and histories that drive them and make them seem real. These character depths inform but remain implicit in the background of their interactions with one another.

I’ve come to expect Dead Unicorn shows will be funny, and Marvelous Man certainly doesn’t disappoint here either. What’s that, you say? A show that’s funny, has a plot, and makes a point!? Yep. It is real.

The campy tone and of this show and it’s particular setting allow it to gloss over small lapses in execution by integrating them as part of the running joke about how bad superhero films are. When the dialogue becomes saccharine, it’s fobbed off on the writers of the fictional movie script; when someone gets angry, they deal with their anger by messing with the fictional world of the film, which becomes a convenient vehicle for passive aggression and conflict between the characters. The shoot becomes like a knife that everyone is wrestling to control, to stab their adversaries and emerge atop the heap of Hollywood. But it’s funny, because the knife is made of rubber, because film isn’t real.

Fun, and pointed, Dead Unicorn proves that light isn’t always the same as not serious, and will make you laugh while they do it.


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