Man and Superman

Man and Superman

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre's first production in the newly proclaimed peace at the end of World War II was Shaw's Man and Superman. This inversion of the Don Juan story has, for once, 'the tragi-comic love chase of the man by the woman', rather than the other way round. John Tanner, discovering that his beautiful ward Ann has plans to marry him, flees. Ann follows him, and he gives in to her desire. Shaw satirises relations between the sexes, while exploring one of his recurring themes - that while man is the spiritual creator, woman is the 'life force' (to continue the species) that must always triumph over him.

The Birmingham Rep's 1945 production was directed by a then completely untried young director named Peter Brook. According to critic J C Trewin, Brook 'found subtleties in Shaw possibly unknown to the author himself, but, it appeared, thoroughly legitimate'. The role of Tanner was taken by a promising young actor called Paul Scofield, who would go on to become one of the most highly respected actors of his generation.