Musical super heroes

18th February 2020

News, Student news

Two Wadham students are staging a thrilling new musical comedy at Oxford Playhouse’s Burton Taylor Studio this week.

  • Lowri Spear and Raymond Douglas

    Wadham undergraduates Lowri Spear and Raymond Douglas

  • Hero-Man rehearsals

    Hero-Man rehearsals

  • Hero-Man rehearsals

    Hero-Man rehearsals

  • Hero-Man rehearsals

    Hero-Man rehearsals

Directed by Raymond Douglas (Maths and Philosophy, 2018) and Lowri Spear (English, 2018), the show follows the misadventures of  Hero-Man: Champion of Justice, his best friend Tim, and his talking dog Zap, as they stand alone against the forces of darkness.

“The great thing about Oxford is that if you have a good idea, you will find people to help you. So my plan for Hero-Man was to make something that could showcase as much of that as possible: musicians, artists, designers, performers, and of course a team of producers who are terrifyingly organised. When you put that all together, what you're left with is some sort of elaborate sci-fi fantasy comic musical, which is pretty much where I started,” said Raymond.

“I spent a lot of time watching the classic Saturday morning cartoons, which are both aesthetically wonderful and unintentionally hilarious, both hyper-sexualised and painfully moralising. Somewhere in the middle of an episode of He-Man, when the titular shirtless hunk started explaining why children shouldn't take addictive drugs, I decided that would be my jumping off point. So there it was: a big damn hero, a laughably incompetent villain, a plucky sidekick, and a talking dog. And if you want to know what happens next you'll have to come see the show."

Raymond approached Lowri in Trinity term last year with his original concept for Hero-Man. “Sitting in his room, he took out his ukulele and began to play me the chorus of a song which would eventually turn into the opening number of the show: ‘Hero-Man defender of the helpless, Hero-Man noble and selfless, Hero-Man…champion of justice!’ I was hooked,” said Lowri, who is Wadham SU Arts Officer.

“I love musical theatre (to an embarrassing extent) which Raymond knew - it was the perfect project for us for us to collaborate on. We already had a production company that we formed after our Wadham Cuppers entry in our very first term at Oxford, but putting on a musical as opposed to a play was totally different and a big challenge for us. Luckily, with a lot of hard work, it’s all gone to plan - we have a great score, a brilliant musical director and an incredibly talented cast. I’m really proud of this show and - after the run at the Burton Taylor Studio - I can’t wait to take it up to Edinburgh Fringe this summer!” 

Hero-Man: Champion of Justice runs from 18-22 February at the Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse, 9.30pm. Tickets (£5-6) are available here: https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/all-shows/hero-man/13608 

  • Detail from the event flyer

    Detail from the event flyer illustrated by Elanor Ludlam