Reviewer: David Doyle
Rokkur Friggjar’s Hero seeks to answer the question, what drives young people to join violent organisations? In today’s society, this question feels like a pertinent one and the choice to explore it through the lives of eight youths over a decade is one that has merit. With overtones of Frank Dedekind’s Spring Awakening, the piece’s multi-character storyline delves into the lives of characters but cannot examine them in enough depth over the course of its hour long story in order to delve below the surface of them and therefore of their society.
There are things to admire with the production, a haunting opening, and real ambition, but things never quite come together. The strongest element of the show is the storyline concerning Patrick, a young man initially opposed to fighting in the wars that surround him, who, following the death of his friend does indeed go to the front lines. It’s an engaging narrative and one that has important things to say about personal and societal struggles and the impact of propaganda.
However, this storyline doesn’t happen in a vacuum and the surrounding stories often feel like they miss the mark. Despite dealing with a heavy subject matter, too often the play breaks into comedic moments, complete with a jarringly jaunty soundtrack. These moments, often at crucial times, undercut the show’s intention and feel misplaced in the production.
With some strong performances and an at times thoughtful exploration of public and private grief amid a propagandized society, the production has strengths but ultimately it is let down by a script that isn’t tight enough to sustain the weighty subject matter it seeks to explore.
Runs until 14 August 2017 | Image: Contributed