BWW Reviews: Kitchen Theatre's Delightfully Funny and Profoundly Poignant HEROES
Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY opened its 2013/2014 season on September 7 with the delightfully funny yet profoundly poignant regional premiere of Gérald Sibleyras's Heroes.
Translated by Tom Stoppard and directed by Maragrett Perry, Heroes is the story of Henri (Arthur Bicknell), Gustave (Evan Thompson), and Philippe (Eric Brooks), three World War I war heroes living in a veterans home in 1959 France. The play is a sentimental look at war veterans who, once so glamorous and needed, are now fated to spending their final days on a single terrace. They spend their time hatching a plan to escape their humdrum home and relive their glory days. Like little boys, they plan a big adventure over a mountain and into a clearing amongst the poplars. Unlike little boys, these men use their tactical knowledge from the war to envision their escape.
The Kitchen's intimate space and superb set design make the audience feel as if they're in on the plot, sitting right there on the terrace as these men talk about days gone by, about getting up to speed with "today's women," and seeing them figure out the new world. It's like a conversation with your grandpa: memories of a time long ago, when things were simple.
All three actors embody their characters well. Arthur Bicknell as Henri, the group's pragmatist, and Eric Brooks as Philippe, the nonpartisan fence sitter, are both captivating. Of special note is Evan Thompson who delighted the audience with his comedic timing and charm in his portrayal of the somewhat crazy, idealistic, yet highly decorated Gustave.
Heroes has that special touch, that hopeful air of something truly wonderful. Like Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, our heroes seldom leave their place in the world. They dream, talk, plot, and joke; yet there they are and there they'll stay.
This play will make you want to thank the hero in your life.
For more information on Heroes at the Kitchen Theatre Company, click here.
Photo Credit: Dave Burbank