Opening this week: Bananaman – The Musical!

Matthew McKenna As Bananaman. Photo: Claire Bilyard
Matthew McKenna As Bananaman. Photo: Claire Bilyard

Never mind Star Wars: The Last Jedi. the premiere of the month has to be the much-anticipated Bananaman – The Musical, which opens at London’s Southwark Playhouse this Friday (15th December 2017).

Matthew McKenna as Bananaman. Photo: Claire Bilyard
Photo: Claire Bilyard

We’ve covered the show’s production path on downthetubes, but now the show is finally here and, whenever you first encountered the world’s daftest superhero, this production looks to be one to catch. Here’s one of the songs from the show…

Created by Steve Bright and writer and editor Dave Donaldson (best known for his work on The Broons) and initially drawn by the late John Geering for Nutty comic in 1980, the quintessentially British Bananaman (alter ego – Eric Wimp), now a Beano star, is the superhero with “the muscles of twenty men, and the brains of twenty mussels”.

He’s brave, he’s bold… but he’s not very bright!

Bananaman The Musical, written by the award-winning writer and composer of Wolfboy, The Famous Five, Scary Musical and Monte CristoLeon Parris, is directed by Mark Perry (producer, director, actor and founder of Sightline Entertainment) and is part parody, part slapstick comedy musical for the whole family.

In the show, supervillains Doctor Gloom and General Blight are attempting world domination, but who can we call? Superman’s on holiday, Spider-Man’s not picking up – our only option, our very, very last option is… Bananaman.

Matthew McKenna (The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, We Will Rock You) stars as the titular superhero and resident of Acacia Road, joined by Marc Pickering (Boardwalk Empire, Les Misérables screen adaptation), who plays Bananaman’s arch nemesis Doctor Gloom.

Matthew McKenna As Bananaman and Jodie Jacobs as Crow. Photo: Claire Bilyard
Matthew McKenna As Bananaman and Jodie Jacobs as Crow. Photo: Claire Bilyard

Also cast are Jodie Jacobs (Rock Of Ages) as Eric’s loyal sidekick, Crow, Mark Newnham (Sunny Afternoon) as Eric Wimp and Carl Mullaney (Les Misérables) as General Blight.

The remainder of the cast are TJ Lloyd, Lizzii Hills, Brian Gilligan, Emma Ralston, Chris McGuigan and Amy Perry.

As well as his comic strip adventures, Bananaman was also the subject of the hugely popular TV cartoon that ran on the BBC during the 1980s. With a useless hero and some equally clueless villains, Bananaman’s riotously funny, slapstick humour has been sealed into the memories of those who saw him first, and will now spark the imagination of a new bunch of Bananafans.

• Follow Bananaman The Musical on Twitter @bananamanshow

Bananaman – The Musical Friday 15th December 2017 – Saturday 20th January 2018 Southwark Playhouse | Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3.00pm – No shows Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day but Extra Christmas Shows on Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd, Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th, Friday 29th December at 3.00pm | Prices – Previews £14; Full £25; Concessions £20; Family Ticket £80 | Web: www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk | Tel: 020 7407 0234 (10am – 6pm, Mon – Fri)

Bananaman copyright DC Thomson

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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