Indigo is the latest show from Maverick Charles Productions, a bizarre comedy that in part parodied the superhero genre. It was written by Hugo Lewkowicz, directed by Emily Fitzpatrick and was staged at the King’s Arms in Salford.
As the audience took their seats, we were watched by a woman (Sarah Faulkner) with a fierce gaze, who offered us playing cards and fixed us with judgemental looks. When the play started, she introduced the band of quirky characters. The play concerned Doctor Zellner (Mike Moulton), a scientist who insisted he was not “e-ville”, complete with a silly voice and array of ridiculous facial expressions.
His sidekick was a manifestation of the least memorable colour in the rainbow, Indigo (Libby Williamson). Indigo was adorable and enthusiastic with a habit of switching Doctor Zellner’s launch codes for song lyrics.
Zellner’s scientific experiments were thwarted by his arch-nemesis, Swordman (Ross McFadden), an underpants-wearing superhero with a tragic backstory who insisted on pronouncing the W in ‘Sword’. Completing the cast was Zellner’s landlady, Petunia Morris (Nick Nuttall), a character demonstrating the villainy of landlords and landladies, a joke that went down well in this student-filled audience.
Zellner was working on a time machine which he would use to prevent ‘indigo’ ever being listed as a colour in the colour spectrum, much to the hurt of Indigo himself.
The first act was a high energy romp through an exaggerated comic book world, complete with brilliant one-liners and silly shenanigans. I was having a great time but I was starting to wonder how long this format could be dragged out for. At this moment, Mrs Morris entered to open a hole in the space-time continuum. This situation was created through the use of an enormous, stunning swirl made out of LED lights. The characters stepping through this whole was what instigated the second act.
It was after this that things became a bit wild. The play went down a convoluted path involving time-travel and multiple universes. A show this ridiculous does not necessarily need to make sense; however, I think the fact there was supposed to be a plot meant I was left confused at times. Truth be told, I would have preferred another act of the quirky characters arguing and attempting to fight crime, while alluding to Batman.
The second act also had a surprise cameo from none other than Hitler (I don’t know how else to explain it). He appeared continually from this point onward. I firmly believe there are only so many times Hitler can be utilised for laughs. Yes, it was funny the first time he showed up and inspired when he appeared in the musical theatre parallel universe to sing ‘A Chorus Line’, complete with a gold glittery hat, but from this point onward, his presence felt quite cheap. However, this opinion would likely be controversial with most of the audience, whose laughter never diminished at his appearances.
Despite having a confusing second half, Indigo frequently had me in stitches and was a refreshing reminder that theatre does not always have to be serious. All of the actors put in an immense amount of energy (how were they not dying of heat in those superhero costumes?!), ensuring there was never a dull or static moment onstage.
Although all gave wonderful performances, my favourite was definitely that of McFadden with his fabulous costumes and dramatic gestures. “Swwword”, the group of people I was chatting to in the interval all repeated.
There were also many discussions amongst us of what ‘indigo’ actually is: “Is it purple?” “No, it’s like a dark blue, tinged with purple.” It was an interesting choice of subject matter, something that is a part of our concept of colour but that we rarely think about.
As the show closed, Fitzpatrick came out onstage to tell us Indigo is going up to the Edinburgh Fringe. Having been to the Fringe last year, I think this show will fit right in. It is a hilarious comedy that reminds me of some of the improvised shows I saw up in Edinburgh.