Transfer Productions, a British theatre group, has created Mario! A Super Musical, a parody musical of the beloved game series. The show centres around what would happen if the traditional Mario story were subverted, with Bowser kidnapping Mario and Peach having to save him. Along with Toad, Luigi, and Yoshi, Peach must defeat Bowser and Kammy Koopa. The musical is a one-hour, fun-filled show with unexpected romance, ridiculous gags, and beautiful harmonies. Despite concerns of receiving a cease and desist from Nintendo, Transfer Productions avoided any legal issues by incorporating enough parody and artistic license to create its unique experience.
Influenced by Team Starkid’s spoof musicals and Fat Rascal Theatre’s Unfortunate, Transfer Productions created its parody musical. The group was also inspired by brilliant YouTubers who added lyrics to existing Nintendo tunes, such as brentalfloss and Dave Bulmer. These YouTubers introduced the concept of musicalizing the inner thoughts of the characters in extravagant and fun ways, which inspired the musical’s creation.
The musical’s book and lyrics were written by Jim Burrows, who cites Howard Ashman as his primary inspiration. Burrows also drew inspiration from the late Ashman’s lyric-writing for Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, and Aladdin. In addition to Ashman’s works, the musical’s cast members contributed to the musical’s character development. Director Ellie Coote urged the actors to use their natural accents to enable them to connect with the characters and avoid impersonation.
The hardest song to finish was “Peach’s Lament,” which Burrows describes as the heart of the show. He wanted it to convey Peach’s strength while still being funny and exciting. The solo song took six months to complete, and the final version is a mixture of seven different songs.
Although the show’s title has “Mario” in it, it doesn’t feature any of the game’s iconic music. Instead, the show has a completely original score. Burrows explains that this was intentional to avoid any potential legal issues. However, the audience will still recognize familiar tunes from the Mario games that have been repurposed in surprising ways.
The show was held at the Southwark Playhouse in London and was received positively by both audiences and Nintendo employees. The show’s success even prompted a Nintendo representative to invite the cast and crew to attend the premiere of the upcoming Super Mario film.
Mario! A Super Musical is a fun and unique take on the traditional Mario story, featuring an original score, unexpected takes on well-known characters, and a surprising twist on the traditional tale. Despite concerns of a cease and desist from Nintendo, the creators avoided legal issues by incorporating enough parody and artistic license into their work. The show’s success and reception have been positive, and it’s sure to appeal to Mario fans worldwide.