Hero-Man: Champion of Justice is quite possibly the most eccentric show I’ve ever seen. This new comedy rock opera, written by Raymond Douglas, follows the (mis)adventures of Hero-Man (Reef Ronel), his sidekick Tim (Martin Lindill), and his magical talking dog Zap (Sarah Davies) through song and dance. Not my usual Tuesday night, but I was intrigued. It wasn’t difficult to find a plus one to come along with me. Having told my friend about the play, he was excited by the show’s apparent similarities with “The Nightman Cometh” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Let’s just say, in terms of style and humour, he wasn’t disappointed. Sitting down to watch Hero-Man in the BT Theatre, I was greeted by a lovely piano instrumental played by Nicholas Heymann, who later impressively switched between instruments to single-handedly accompany the cast throughout the show. The intimate audience chatted excitedly in anticipation for the show to begin.
The show began with the entrance of Reknaw (Joel Fernandez), donned head to toe in leather, eliciting several shocked laughs from the audience. Hero-Man and his team entered shortly after, wearing equally outlandish neon costumes that, surprisingly, seemed to work and really added to the essence of the production. I particularly liked the detailed face paint each cast member wore that really completed their looks. My pet peeve, however, was the squeaky tennis shoes – perhaps a more silent option would’ve been appropriate for a show with so much movement.
If you’re into scatological humour, this is the show for you. The audience seemed rather split, with some laughing in amusement and others only nervously (I admit, I fell into the second camp – phallic jokes aren’t quite my cup of tea). Regardless, everyone in the audience seemed to have a smile on their face most of the time. The comedic highlight for me was the use of the rubber glove. I won’t spoil it for you, but that moment had me full-belly laughing due to its sheer absurdity.
I feel like this show isn’t to be reviewed on the basis of its acting or singing, as the silliness of the script obscures our ability to fairly assess the cast’s talents. Honestly, I spent a lot of the show confused as to why cast members were smiling when the plot seemed to suggest they would be sad or angry. It seems that a lot of the humour was lost in the dramatic, rather than convincing, delivery of lines. In general, the characters rarely acted as I expected them to, so I’ll put it down as a creative choice of the directors, but it did leave me feeling like I was missing the joke. That said, Sinep (Sophia Heller) stood out to me with her beautifully sweet voice during her solo moments. All in all, the cast seemed to really enjoy themselves on stage, performing enthusiastically from the singing to the dancing, and even for a fight scene or two!