Theatre review: Hero Worship, Perth

Knowledge of superheroes isn't needed to appreciate the emotional heart of Hero Worship

Knowledge of superheroes isn't needed to appreciate the emotional heart of Hero Worship

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PERCHED between reflective 65-minute stand-up set and full-blooded solo theatre, Hero Worship is the latest in a series of monologues by acclaimed writer-performer Kenny Boyle. Our hero is a 21st century everyman in his early 20s, frightened by his own ordinariness and traumatised by the childhood loss of his mother, but with a mind full of superhero imagery from comics and films – during the show he refers to Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Thor, Batman and half a dozen more.

Hero Worship - Perth Concert Hall

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But though an encyclopaedic knowledge of superhero literature is helpful in picking up every nuance of Boyle’s script, anyone with half a heart can appreciate the intense poetry of his hero’s rooftop attempts to escape the pain of everyday life, and his burgeoning relationships both with an insistent little puppy called Found, and with a magical girl for whom he has, after all, some super-powers of his own.

The play finally indulges in too many endings, sliding towards sentimental homespun philosophy, and Boyle needs to bring his delivery right up to the thrilling standard of his best writing. But his presence is as charismatic and memorable as his storytelling imagery, and he inhabits the inner world of generation superhero with a creative passion and humanity that’s hard to resist.

• Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow, tonight, and Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, 21 March

Seen on 16.3.15

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