By Taylor Kendal
“There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more…”
To fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (referred onwards as the MCU), this is a well known speech from Nick Fury, regarding the group of heroes known as The Avengers. But, it is also the way that the audience are introduced to the world of comic book heroes, dastardly villains, and songs that will have your feet tapping from the beginning. For there was also another idea; to take these heroes and make them a part of a one man cabaret spectacular. And thus, Marveled: An Original Parody Cabaret was born.
Marveled is the brainchild of Phill Davies; writer, performer and self proclaimed Avenger Wannabe. Backed by a 5 piece orchestra and the songs of his own creation, Davies has created a rather ambitious premise; to become the personification of the heroes and villains that the world so reveres. It becomes rather obvious from the beginning that Davies is a Marvel Super fan, with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the MCU that he is all too happy to share; matched with his stunning vocals and putting his musical theatre training to very good use.
Even if you are not quite as much as a diehard fan as some, the back stories of the last 10 years of Marvel; a twenty one movie catalogue are summed up well, woven with fantastically written songs, set to some of Musical theatre’s most recognized tunes; from a range of Disney classics to Legally Blonde and The Producers. Admittedly, there were a few sound issues with the band being a little overpowering at times, making some of the lyrics difficult to hear, but it was dealt with rather quickly.
Now, it should be made clear that if you are a fan of DC comics – this is NOT the show for you. Davies makes it very clear that although the opposing company has had some hits in the past, Marvel is far superior when it comes to the movies it creates. Backed by an Anything Goes inspired tune, he shares his feelings that well, ‘DC Blows’.
From here on in, we are introduced to the characters that make up the Avengers. Iron Man, the movie that started the franchise a decade ago, leading up to the latest installment, Infinity War, before the MCU as we currently know it wraps up this April with the final movie Endgame. We meet Captain America, who has a not so subtle, borderline stalker crush on Black Widow; a number about unrequited love that is cringey in the best way possible. Hulk, who laments that it’s ‘not easy being green’ and how he is more than his complex emotions and anger issues present; Black Widow and her rather impressive skill set with every inch of sass that she portrays on screen, complete with a lovely dollar store red wig. Thor, everyone’s favourite Australian ‘beef cake hero’ ponders what life would be like if he wasn’t ‘ridiculously good looking’, and pours his heart and soul into his hammer, acting as a microphone in the most hilarious way.
Though it is not just the well known facts about these heroes that are performed. Davies takes the audience a little deeper, having a look at underlying themes and character motivations that are perhaps overlooked in favor of the action on the screen. This is best reflected with Loki, one of the main villains of the MUC who battles with the idea of being a villain and simply wanting to win the love and respect of his father (Be a Villain/Proud of Your Boy).
But perhaps the best number of the show is by the least known or liked Avenger, Hawkeye; who unlike his peers, is merely a human with a bow and arrow. He laments that he is often forgotten and overlooked because he doesn’t have superpowers and is simply wanting to be ‘Part of Their World’. It is a sweet number, with hilarious undertones provided by the Disney references, and simply makes you feel for the guy (though he is one of my favourite Avengers).
The costume changes are simplistic, but are incredibly effective, with the ability to change one man into a new character in the blink of an eye. Davies captures the essence of each of the characters with an incredible hilarity as well as a deep love and admiration. The very few fumbles with the script are pushed through with ease, which is a feat considering this is a one hour, one man show with zero breaks.
Marveled is a spectacular love letter of sorts to characters who have helped shaped the lives of so many people, particularly Davies and the audience members. It is a fun, hilarious salute to the heroes of the big screen who despite being fictional, are real to those who believe.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.