5 star review from Theatre In Scotland

Review: Hero Worship

hero worshipCCA, Glasgow
Wednesday 1st July 2015
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“We need heroes,” the superhero Anachronism tells us, “anything that isn’t…real life.”

Our hero for the next hour, Anachronism is standing centre-stage with his back to the audience. His secret identity is Kenny Boyle, writer and star of the one-man show, Hero Worship.

As the show starts it becomes clear that Boyle is an accomplished storyteller. After some deliberately hammy and hilarious recounting of a Week in the Diary of a Superhero, he suddenly addresses us directly, smashing through the fourth wall like The Hulk through MDF. He apologises for his lack of a set and explains that he blew the budget on comic books. It’s endearing, designed to win his audience over, and it works. There is no more ham; this is just a guy telling a story.

Boyle sets the scene: a typical city rooftop, beloved of so many superheroes, which we are to revisit several times during the next hour. Sometimes we’ll be there with a smile on our faces, others swallowing down a lump in our throats. His storytelling is as captivating as his comedy is funny, the whole room is there with him, having been transported from the cinema room in the CCA to that rooftop, to a park, to a hospital.

He draws us in with heartfelt recounting of Anachronism’s origins, straight theatre and standup comedy, and a barrage of comic book references. From being refused entry to several superhero groups for reasons both hilarious and obvious – he didn’t join the Autobots because he’s rubbish at Hide & Seek – to his “Dear Peter Parker…” correspondence it is an emotional whirlwind. As a comic geek I choked up a little – we did all hear that snap.

So it is particularly poignant in the moments when the comic book references stop. Boyle asks us to consider the everyday, the impact we have upon others. We reflect on the loss of loved ones, our own insecurities and “secret identities”, he touches briefly – very briefly – and subtly upon the onset of depression and, despite that brevity, manages to accurately convey that feeling of uselessness, the difficulty of living with someone who has it, wanting to take it from them but knowing you can’t and can only be there.

He brings difficult, painful subject matter to the forefront of our consideration as easily as he makes us laugh with jokes about superhero sound effects and imaginary dog pee.

Boyle’s point is, ultimately, that by the simplest acts of human kindness we can all be heroes to someone. We don’t need teleportation or adamantium claws or to move faster than lightning. We just need to love and be loved, to support and be supported.

Hero Worship is a flawless, beautiful hour of geekery with gravitas, and should be required viewing for any adult comic fan.

 

For more information, visit the Hero Worship site

4 star review from Literature Without Borders

Theatre Review: Hero Worship @ CCA Glasgow

Moral of the story – we are all our own superheroes

Genre: Solo Performance
Venue: CCA
Website: http://sonicboomtheatre.com/heroworship/
Written and Performed by: Kenny Boyle
Produced by: Sonic Boom Theatre
Rating: 4****
Reviewed by: Christine Lawler

Lowdown

Kenny Boyle takes us on an imaginative, emotive, and funny trip around one ordinary superhero’s universe in Hero Worship.

Review

Hero Worship is storytelling for adults where imagination – that a lot lose as they release their childhoods – is needed to set the scenes which are described with enthusiasm. Kenny Boyle in this solo performance tells the story of the supermarket worker and his ordinary-superhero alter ego, along with the lost puppy Found who becomes a firm partner in his expeditions.

Through imaginative storytelling, poetry, quiet moments of honesty, and audience interaction Boyle portrays a lonely man who wants to be more than he is and save the world from the injustices within it and maybe find someone to share it all with. Boyle is a funny, quick thinking, and quite genuine performer, his interactions with the audience create a relaxed atmosphere and draw us all in to his world where we can also see ourselves. He speaks of the masks everyone wears and the secret identities we keep hidden deep inside of us, he speaks of how despite the pain and hardships life throws at us we will get through it all – even Peter Parker. There are genuinely moving moments throughout as he wraps a motivational monologue up in a superhero cloak, though none more moving than his puppy coming to his rescue in the park.

There are a lot of pop culture references to keep any geek happy (myself included) though I feel even those unfamiliar with the comic world can take away just as much from the piece, and maybe even learn something about the superhero worlds. Even if it is just how many superheroes are orphaned as children as our guy was, which is where his obsession came from. Taking refuge in fantasy is something a lot of people can relate to and there is a lot to relate to within this performance.

Kenny Boyle is an endearing performer and despite some stumbling over words on occasion, unnecessary nerves perhaps, Hero Worship is an endearing show with real heart. Even without the elaborate set we all had to imagine instead. It was so marvelous I was almost disappointed Stan Lee did not make his cameo.

4 star review from The Outlier

Review: Hero Worship

 


CCA Glasgow

4 Stars (4 / 5)


hero-worship - Copy

Anarchronism is an aspiring Superhero, working the tills at the supermarket. When he checks out form the checkout he checks out alone… but deep down he’s a Superhero; desperate to discover his secret power and earn his origin story.

This original story (written, acted and directed by Kenny Boyle) is funny from the get go, occasionally heart-warming, saddening, dramatic, poetic and ultimately uplifting. The tale of a grown orphan who spent his weekends writing letters to Peter Parker, being jolted out of the fantasy-land of comics by his unannounced side-kick – a lost dog.

Armed with a new ally, Anachronism goes on to find real-world love and companionship. He meets a romantic partner who suffers from anxiety and depression, and learns that although we all need heroes, sometimes all we need to be a hero is our empathy, and our sensitivity to those who depend on us.

Brilliantly engaging – Boyle’s show embraces improvisation, audience participation, spoken word poetry, and an arc of emotional highs and lows. Join Anarchronism on the roof of a sky-scraper somewhere, looking over the city, cape flailing in the wind, as he plans his next assault on crime.

4 Stars from The Public Reviews

hero worship cca glasgow

Hero Worship – CCA, Glasgow

Writer: Kenny Boyle

Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald

It’s the not so familiar story of the kid who always wants to be a superhero, but lacks the one thing… super powers. Kenny Boyle’s Hero Worship, more a monologue than a play per se, is a heartfelt piece that leaves its audience genuinely uplifted by the experience; packing as much a tickle as it does a punch.

Anachronism seems ordinary; a supermarket worker who lives for his comics. An incident changes his perspective, and Hero Worship takes us on a journey through Anachronism’s mind. Filled with pop culture references, everyone is bound to find something they can relate to. Despite being part of Glasgow Comic Con 2015, the piece is as easily digestible by those who can’t separate Superman from Batman. The humour is genuine and through Boyle’s character, is well directed at the audience. The piece works in its intimate environment to engage the audience, which all adds to the fun of the event. However, there are sharp turns of genuinely emotive memories which stun the audience into silence. The pace is on point, allowing for joyful and painful memories to merge.

The script is near effortlessly delivered by Boyle; the beginning of the piece seeming ad libbed, but the later scenes show this natural flow is all part of the character.

Overall, Hero Worship is a well written, well performed piece of theatre that fits well into the Comic Con playbill. The piece could definitely be destined for some success at the Edinburgh Fringe – this is certainly a one man show worth keeping an eye out for.

Reviewed on 1 July

 

Review Overview

The Pubic Reviews Score

4 Stars

Heartwarming

Glasgow Comic Con 2015 audience reviews

Some reviews from the lovely audience at the CCA for the Comic Con showing of Hero Worship:

“Well Hero Worship was an hour of highs and lows with an inspiring message. If you get a chance I highly recommend it” – Joe Gibson