Review by: Anne Bokma
My friends and I had a bit of fun rolling the title of this play around on our tongues. Heroery it’s a mouthful just try saying it fast three times. We also had some difficulty following along with the plot, with its bastardized Elizabethan language (imagine Shakespeare on crack), racuous hijinks and somewhat complicated storyline. But after the first 20 minutes we caught on and once we did we had a pretty good time.
What we have here is a mock-Renaissance adventure in which Stevetaur (Jonathon Calhoun), the obnoxious “hero” of our play and his weary sidekick Denperratis (Ryan Collins) face off against the evil Oscarthgus in order to save the king (and more specifically M’Lady Stockellberry), a Helen-Mirren lookalike whom Stevetaur has the hots for. His pigeon is a cooing for a wooing, pronounces Stevetaur, raising his knife as a phallic gesture. Rounding out the cast is the washerwoman Mistress Dill played by Sarah C. E. Stanton, who throws herself around the stage with impressive physical energy and contorts her face into a hilarious range of expressions.
Calhoun is the star of the show here. A hulking Shrek-like figure, he’s the most unlikely of heros: ungainly, loud, selfish, supremely egotistical, boorish and not above interrupting his lines by burping and breaking wind. He bites into his juicy role with relish as he jiggles his ample belly and spits while making pompous pronouncements. He and Collins have a great go of it on the stage, facing off against each other while playing penniless vagrants masquerading as heros to impress the washerwomen‹as well as M’lady, who is so desperate for a saviour she initially sees a hero in the fool. (And what woman hasn’t made that mistake at least once?)
Nominated for best original script and best comedy at the 2012 London, Ontario, Beat Dish Awards, the show is written and directed by Steve Stockwell who has done an impressive job turning in some clever offbeat writing.
I met Stockwell after the show and was surprised when he told me that one of the production companies involved in this show, Out of Sight based in London, Ontario, hires actors who are visually impaired and at least two such actors are in the cast of Heroery. I never would have known