Part-Time Superhero | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Part-Time Superhero 

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PART-TIME SUPERHERO, Hi-Volt Theatre Company, at Breadline Theatre. You know it's a bad night at the theater when a burglar alarm next door is the evening's high point. Playing the lead in his own play, Harry Bauer tediously expands on a premise that Second City would have delivered in 20 minutes: in a world of full-time superheroes, nebbishy Spider-Man-wannabe Hudson finally gets a chance to make good.

Of course it takes him an interminable two hours to complete his mission, mainly because Bauer leaves nothing to the imagination, spelling out this slacker's reluctance to get a job, let alone a life, and padding the plot with dull supporting roles, including two supposedly authentic superheroes, an unconvincing groupie, and Carlos, Hudson's louse of a sidekick. Our hero never really considers abandoning his dream--so where's the conflict?--and when he finally gets his piece of the action you won't give a good Green Lantern.

Director Kirsten D'Aurelio was apparently unable to cut a line and stages the obvious with plodding persistence. There's no subtext, and no banality is spared. Bauer plays Hudson with earnest nerdiness and loose-limbed likability, but this loser's drive to be a caped crusader is a dreary dream. Now if Superman secretly coveted the life of an accountant, that would be a premise to build on. Sadly, this play's title tells you all you need to know. --Lawrence Bommer

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