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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

HERO (article first published : 2005-09-20)

Having seen the highly skilled Craig Morris earlier in the day at the 2005 Witness Hilton Arts Festival in the marvellous Attachments, my expectations were high for his appearance in Hero, directed by Andrew Buckland.

He didn't disappoint. In a tour de force of physical theatre, he wove the story of wannabee super-hero Chris, bent on saving the City of Gold from the forces of evil known as Crime Wave.

Chris and corporate executive wannabee Warren meet at school where they act out power games. As Chris goes into his various “don’t mess with me” superhero routines – including the amusing Parktown Prawn (complete with snapping teeth) - Warren dismisses him as slightly barmy and responds in kind. Little does he know that, one day, Chris will save his life.

Warren climbs the corporate ladder, a route filled with temptation including drug and money abuse and he falls victim to both of them.

Chris leads a fairly chaotic and unfocused lifestyle, slogging away at the super hero dream and even makes his own costume to save distressed damsels or to threaten criminals. His parting shot is always “You never know what could happen!”

After a braai with friends which takes an electrifying turn, Chris gathers two more members to his task force, although he battles to come up with a name for this death-defying unit. Hence his super hero costume has a question mark on the front. He changes in and out of this costume which becomes more than somewhat irritating and it is during this process that we start to lose the plot. Well, at least, I did!

There are many brilliant sequences in this work and Morris produces a number of credible characters, but overall Hero is too long and convoluted which takes away from the poignancy and compelling impact of the ending. – Caroline Smart




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