Writer and Performer: Kieran Hurley
Directors: Alex Swift and Julia Taudevin
Sound/music: Michael John McCarthy
Reviewer: Paul Couch
What pillar would you lean on if the world as you knew it came to an abrupt end? Reflection? Hedonism? Denial? Faith?
In Kieran Hurley’s blistering one-man show, Heads Up, he offers perspectives from four very different, ordinary individuals who face the Apocalypse in the nameless city ion which they live. The result is a startling piece of meta-theatre that surely pegs Hurley as one of the most vital writers of the modern age.
Abdullah is a barista in a High Street coffee chain, one of those faceless corporations who pay minimum wage while insisting their employees beam their “people-perfect” smile relentlessly at every “Can I get…?” soya latte-swigging pleb who walks through the door.
Mercy is a City futures trader who suddenly realises the futility of futures trading when there is no future in which to trade. She’s rather like an astrologer whose stars are blinking out of existence one by one. Leon is the instant fame pop star, fuelled by recreational drugs and fury because nobody takes his “humanitarian work” seriously. On the eve of the Armageddon, his girlfriend is giving birth alone while he’s at a post-gig party.
Finally is Ash, a 13-year old sitting in a toilet cubicle watching inappropriate images of herself, posted by a spurned boyfriend, go viral. Never mind, Ash – everyone will be dead by tomorrow.
Gaulier-trained Hurley’s magnetic performance isn’t at all diluted by the fact that he sits behind a desk shifting between these four strands of senselessness, working his own sound and lighting cues like some mad, God-like puppet master. Lit from below, gaunt and pallid, which only adds to the sinisterness of the piece, he spits his delivery with barely an intake of breath or a blink.
Heads Up is a taut, powerful piece of theatre that will grip the viewer by the throat from beginning to end.
Reviewed on 9 June 2017 | Image: Niall Walker
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