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    Man and Superman rules supreme

    A century after Man and Superman was written, George Bernard Shaw's delightful satire on the human condition, moral dilemmas and romantic liaisons is more relevant than ever with London's National Theatre staging, which is screened at Cinema Nouveau for a limited season from 13 June.

    It's not often that you get an opportunity to see a complete four-act drama that runs just over three hours, and Man and Superman is worth every second.

    Under the feisty direction of Simon Goodwin, an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic and Associate Director at The Royal Court, complemented by imaginative set design by Christopher Oram, lighting by James Farncombe, music by Michael Bruce, movement by Jonathan Goddard and sound by Christopher Shutt, Man and Superman is a triumph.

    Add to this the magnificent performances by a great ensemble of 20 performers headed by Ralph Fiennes as Jack Tanner, celebrated radical thinker and rich bachelor, and Indira Varma as the alluring heiress Ann.

    Man and Superman rules supreme

    Shaw incarnate

    Fiennes' Tanner is Shaw incarnate, as he tears into the play with the might of a thousand dragons, having to conquer the fiery Ann when he becomes her unlikely guardian.

    Man and Superman brilliantly merges romantic comedy, an epic fairy tale, philosophical debate, robust drama and delightful prose at a rapid pace without ever losing its impetus. The story revolves around Tanner, who is appalled by the whiff of domesticity, and when he is tipped off by his chauffeur and flees to Spain, he is captured by bandits and meets The Devil. Wait till you see the extraordinary heaven versus hell dream debate after the intermission, it's heavenly!

    Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was indeed the Superman of his time: he wrote 63 plays and more than 250,000 letters, and his output as a novelist, critic, pamphleteer, essayist and private correspondent was prodigious. He was in his 50s when he wrote Man and Superman.

    An ardent socialist, nearly all Shaw's writings address prevailing social problems with a vein of comedy, which makes their stark themes more palatable; issues that engaged Shaw's attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege, and he was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class.

    Nobel Prize and Academy Award

    Just as headstrong at Jack Tanner in Man and Superman, Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature(1925) and an Academy Award (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (an adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively. He also refused all other awards and honours, including the offer of a knighthood.

    Man and Superman captures the essence of Shaw and should not be missed under any circumstances. In fact, the pace of the play is so rapid, and the profound prose so prolific, that you will want to see it again to be able to absorb everything.

    It is one of those sublime plays you dive into and want to swim around in its excess forever!

    Man And Superman releases on South African screens as part of the NT Live Season from Saturday, 13 June, for four screenings only: 13, 17 and 18 June at 7.30pm and on Sunday, 14 June at 2.30pm - only at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.

    The running time of this production is 3 hours and 30 minutes, including a 20-minute interval. It also includes a delightful interview with director Simon Goodwin after intermission.

    For booking information on Man and Superman, download the Ster-Kinekor App on any Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone or Blackberry smart phone for updates, news and to make a booking. Go to www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi. Follow on Twitter @nouveaubuzz and on Facebook at Cinema Nouveau. For queries, contact Ticketline on 0861 Movies (668 437).

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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