Sometimes superheroes come by their powers by chance, sometimes they are a birthright, but sometimes they must be worked for: from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Rutene Spooner has arrived at the Edinburgh Fringe to tell his story of dual identities and destiny and the work required to prepare him to travel to the far side of the world.
The iconic shape of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine gracing the hanging backdrop, Spooner wanders about the auditorium greeting the audience as they enter, calling out to friends; near the end of his run, they are many, for in temperament the “musical theatre Maori” is far from his bristling hero.
“A true fan is always at the first screening,” he states, recounting his love for all things X-Men, even offering an impression of Professor X at one point, but it is to the outsider Wolverine he returns, out of place in high school (“detention was my second home”) and trying to keep his peers from finding out he was interested in drama.
It was only when Spooner made the leap to musical theatre that he found out of Jackman’s own second career as a showman and entertainer, a cross-cultural journey which led him from the haka to the high-kicks, and as he demonstrates despite his shaky start he can sing, dance and play guitar at the same time – though perhaps not with cutlery gaffer taped to his hands.
The links between the strands of Super Hugh-Man perhaps tenuous, Spooner is every bit as much an entertainer as his inspiration, but while the show is slight it is energetic and always in tune, particularly when he attempts to merge his two loves in the grand finale of Wolverine: The Musical.