Heads Up

Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up, at HOME, considers how we will deal with an apocalypse. Using an established technique of multiple characters (John Hersey’s Hiroshima, Sebastian Faulkes’ A Week in December) and combining the spoken word with music and sound effects, it’s a clever piece of theatre.

Delivery is impressive. Kieran sits at a desk.  Is he a radio presenter or is he a god?  Mixing sound effects specific to characters and delivering in a style that is at times poetic and at times lilting with the music, Kieran is a highly engaging performer.

But the flaw in this piece is with character.  Not all of the four characters he creates are strong enough to hold their story in the overlapping structure. Ultimately we don’t care enough about their fates.  We know what happens to them, we can see how this fits into the world as a whole (bees, revenge porn, vacuous celebrity, predatory finance) but we don’t feel enough for these people whose story he tells.

The piece starts as a story about four people but gradually turns into one about a malevolent DJing God-like figure who is controlling the actions of each protagonist. It’s almost as if he is telling them what to do, and they cannot avoid their fate.  Who exactly are we empathising with? The four people? All of us? The God? The world?

Impressive and innovative delivery but the central piece of spoken word doesn’t create strong enough characters to carry the story through.

HOME, 18-20 May 2017.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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