Heroic prowess can come in many different guises, whether that be your everyday hero making the right decision at the right time, individuals who have shown exemplary acts of heroism, friends and family who despite hardships are there for others and get on with the day to day no matter what… the list goes on. The concept of the hero a fun yet multi-faceted one, and one that Piers Black’s Catching Comets comments on further.
Based in an observatory by day, Toby (Alistair Michael) daily observes the celestial realm, analysing and recording data. Easy going and shy by nature, he contends with his deprecating, sarcastic colleague Steve’s unforgiving remarks, the ‘villain’ to Toby’s hero. We listen to Toby’s anecdotes of mind vs reality – saying in his mind what he’d really like to say to Steve, but in reality not having the confidence to do so and his establishing a relationship with a new love interest. Here we have our everyday hero, in the perfect setting for a sci-fi fuelled piece, the humour of the evening coming from the reality and organic nature of it.
The show playfully intertwines his reality with our Hollywood notion of the hero, or super hero – references to Bruce Willis’ Die Hard and Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo evoking that late 20th century idea of a strong, agile, quick thinking archetype with no fear, instantly bringing a sense of familiarity whether you’ve seen the films or not. Natalie Johnson‘s minimal boxing-ring like staging evocative of a space station or light sabres as the edges light up. Matt Leventhall‘s lighting design brilliantly plays on the show’s fantasy element, Mark Harris‘ sound design loud and chaotic as Toby’s now fearless heroic super altar ego attempts to save the world from his arch nemesis. The show’s nod to sci-fi and action led filmic conventions adding to the show’s comic and inventive air.
Black directs an energetic evening demanding the audience to tap into their imaginations, Michael transforming from the endearing to the daring, a clever juxtaposition throughout that has all engaged, a fun watch!
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Catching Comets is currently showing until Sunday 19th September 2021 at the Pleasance Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…
For our interview with writer Piers Black, visit here…