Hetain Patel takes to the Lilian Baylis stage, in a show about identity in an age of super heroes. For an hour he jumps from character to character, doing scene‘s from various movies, as varied as Enter the Dragon, Beverly Hills Cop and The Italian Job.
The through line is a rather un-charismatic Youtube celebrity that he does several times, whom we follow on the quest to create the perfect Spider-Man costume. This isn‘t a play, it is a piece of performance art. Whether you enjoy it is completely dependant on how much you need things such as character or narrative.
The show is at its strongest when he does small, clever things. The stand out moment is probably when using the simplest of camera tricks he creates a building to climb Spider-Man style. Unfortunetly, in a show where special effects are the topic of much thought, moments like this are few and far between.
This show is more than just a random assortment of impressions, but not much more. Its highlights aren‘t enough to disguise the sheer repetitiveness. There are only so many different set-ups from movies you can take before it gets a bit muddled.
As an impressionist Hetain is high quality, at his strongest when doing the various Italian gangsters. He does a little bit of movement work, mostly Kung Fu style, and the show could use more of this. If you are into more avant garde art, this show is a good way to spend an evening but if you like performances with a plot it is probably not. 2.5/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
American Boy was shown at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells from Thursday 28th to Friday 29th May. For more information on Hetain Patel, visit here…