Heroes – Miller Centre Theatre Company, Caterham – Review

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Henri (Peter Whittle), Philippe (Reg Anderson), Gustave (Lawrence Marsh), Stone Dog

I saw Heroes a few years ago when it was touring after its West End success (it’s originally by Gerald Sibleyras but translated into English by Tom Stoppard), at the Theatre Royal Bath. I enjoyed the play so much that I chose it as a play text to study for a college module I was doing at the time. When I saw that it was part of The Miller Centre Theatre’s season this year, I was extremely pleased, as it would give me the opportunity to revisit this charming play.

Peter Whittle, Reg Anderson and Lawrence Marsh, all excel themselves as the three French war veterans. The play has some very tender moments, which they bring out subtly and likewise they know when to play for laughs and they got plenty last night, this is an inherently funny play.

Suzi Whittle’s direction is just right, allowing the focus to remain on the characters and the all important stone dog, which is a key part of the plot. Niall Monaghan’s set is a perfect re-creation of a terrace and you really do feel like you’re watching these three old guys muse on their terrace in France.

When describing the play to people in the past I’ve had to use that awful description, “nice”, but whereas that usually sounds like a cop-out or a bit twee, this really is a “nice” play. It’s witty, heart wrenching at times, but uplifting and inspiring. It powerfully confronts the fact that we are all going to die and perhaps spend our last days amongst new friends, but that we can pull together and make each others last days bearable and perhaps even enjoyable.

It’s on until the 30th April, so even though the weather outside is gorgeously sunny, spend an evening basking in this charming tale.

(ps, photo’s are by Avril Jones)

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