‘Hero’ revival is a sweet piece of comic theatre

2008-03-03 00:00

Craig Morris is one of this country’s most gifted performers in both physical theatre and dance. He is also a remarkable actor, able to transform into very different characters in seconds.

His more recent play Blood Orange was a superb vehicle for his theatrical skills, as was Attachments, a dance piece that was one of the most moving theatrical experiences I’ve had.

Hero is a revival of Morris’s and Andrew Buckland’s 2005 hit at that year’s Grahamstown National Arts Festival. It is an interesting tale about Warren, the rugby star from school, who has since taken the corporate lift rather than the corporate ladder.

He remembers the annoying nerdy boy at school, Chris Minor, who pretended he was a superhero even though Warren and his friends reminded him with their fists that he was nothing more than a weakling.

Buckland’s directorial influence shows through in many of the superhero moments, especially in Parktown Prawn Man, who harks back to previous Buckland plays. When Warren bumps into the adult Chris Minor at an airport, he is reassured that he has done much better in materialistic terms than Minor, who has taken a more, well, minor role in society.

Chris mixes with marginal characters and still dreams of being a superhero. Warren hides the fact that he needs large amounts of drugs to survive the stress of his high-flying lifestyle.

And what Warren doesn’t know is that a freak accident at a braai with Chris Minor and his friends has created the Fris Four, who vow to fight the arch criminal Crime Wave.

Warren soon reaches his lowest point and it is then that Chris Minor finally finds his true heroic status in saving Warren’s life.

Chris and Warren realise that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero, just kindness and compassion.

This is a sweet piece of comic theatre enhanced by Morris’s gifted performance, but for me it lacks the moving substance of both Blood Orange and Attachments.

Click here to see a video interview with Craig Morris.

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