Writer: Nicola Wren
Director: Sadie Spencer
Reviewer: Richard Maguire
In short, Superstar is a show, written and performed by Chris Martin’s sister, about being Chris Martin’s sister. It was hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, but perhaps is too earnest and self-indulgent for a London audience.
While at drama school Nicola Martin decided to change her name to Nicola Wren so she could no longer be known as the little sister of Chris Martin from Coldplay. She wants to become a superstar through her own talents rather than through her connection to her brother and his ex-wife, actor Gwyneth Paltrow. And Nicola’s passion is performing.
She tells us about her first childhood performance as a rabbit in the village pantomime, relishing the chance to demonstrate her hopping skills to her siblings who sit in the front row. Other roles at this early stage in her career include Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Mole from The Wind in the Willows. Grabbing scraps of costume from a rack at the back of the stage, these short sketches add up to a kind of greatest hits to match her brother’s successful singles.
At this early age she is sure that she will become famous like Chris, 13 years older than her, who was already playing Glastonbury by this time. Wren does well to recapture her precocious younger self, determined and career-minded, as she moves into her teenage years, finally being accepted to drama school. However this character begins to wear thin over the 70 minutes of this show with every episode played at the same heightened ironic level, and eventually Superstar becomes a little…er…obvious.
It’s a relief when she finally breaks character but the sincerity is overdone, and the conclusion is underdeveloped. However, the Coldplay fans in the audience seemed delighted with Superstar, even if Chris didn’t take his place in the front row. But apart from being Chris Martin’s sister this monologue treads familiar ground, and doesn’t allow Wren to escape her brother’s fame at all. If this play, as the publicity suggests is completely honest, then perhaps it needs a little more fiction.
Runs until 21 December 2019